Israel-Palestine war: At least 100 killed in air strike on Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp

Palestinian officials say six US-made bombs targeted residential homes causing a ‘massacre’

An Israeli air strike on Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp killed at least 100 Palestinians on Tuesday, according to Palestinian officials. 

Officials at the Indonesian Hospital said they had seen at least 50 fatalities, with the health ministry putting the death toll at 100 so far.

The Palestinian interior ministry said there were 400 dead and wounded in total. A ministry spokesperson said an entire residential complex had been destroyed.

“These buildings house hundreds of citizens. The occupation’s air force destroyed this district with six US-made bombs. It is the latest massacre caused by Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip,” interior ministry spokesperson Iyad al-Bazum told reporters. 

“The international community must act immediately to stop Israel before it is too late.”

A spokesperson for the Israeli military later claimed the air strike had killed Hamas commander Ibrahim Biari, who he said had played a role in the Palestinian group’s attack on southern Israel on 7 October. Middle East Eye could not independently verify the claim.

Footage from the camp showed buildings completely levelled and panicked residents carrying wounded children away from the scene. 

Civil defence teams rushed to the scene to try and rescue people, searching through the rubble with their bare hands. Many families were in their homes when the bombs hit. 

UN secretary-general António Guterres said on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that he was “deeply alarmed by the intensification of the conflict.”

Meanwhile, Jordan’s foreign ministry condemned the attack on Jabalia, saying on X that it held “Israel, the occupying power, responsible for this dangerous development.”

Jabalia camp is the largest of eight refugee camps in the besieged Gaza Strip, housing over 116,000 people officially registered with Unrwa, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees. The actual number of people in the camp is likely to be much higher. 

It was established in 1948 following the Nakba (or catastrophe), when 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their homes to make way for the creation of the state of Israel. 

The camp is 1.4 square kilometres, and includes 32 Unrwa installations, 26 schools and two health centres. 

Before Israel’s complete siege on the enclave and relentless bombardment, Jabalia camp was already struggling with electricity cuts and contaminated water supply due to the 16-year blockade on the Gaza Strip. 

At least 8,500 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli bombardment since 7 October, which came after a surprise assault by Hamas that day in which around 1,400 Israelis were killed and at least 240 were taken captive.

The Palestinian death toll includes 3,542 children and 2,187 women, according to the health ministry.

Around 2,000 people are still missing, including 1,100 children. The vast majority of these people are believed to be dead and buried under rubble. Meanwhile, at least 21,543 have suffered injuries of various severity.

The air strikes on Jabalia came as Israeli officials said they had struck hundreds of alleged Hamas targets in the past 24 hours, including rocket-launch posts and underground tunnels.

Israel has been reluctant to provide details about the progress of its ground incursions in Gaza, which began on Friday, but acknowledged two of its soldiers were killed in fighting in northern Gaza on Tuesday.

According to Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari, the soldiers were killed in “hand to hand” combat. The Israeli military says 317 soldiers have been killed since the start of the war on 7 October.