• 32 members of a family among 80 wiped out in strikes on Jabalia camp
• Five killed, two injured in rare ‘drone attack’ in Nablus
• Hundreds of patients flee after Israel orders evacuation of Al Shifa hospital
GAZA: At least 80 Palestinians were killed in twin strikes on a northern Gaza refugee camp on Saturday, including one on a UN school being used as a shelter by displaced people.
Meanwhile, at least 15 people were killed on Saturday following an air strike that hit a house west of Khan Younis, health officials from Gaza’s Nasser Hospital said.
Another rare airstrike on the West Bank claimed five lives and left two injured, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said.
Witnesses told AFP the strike appeared to have come from a drone, and Fatah sources confirmed the dead were members of the movement founded by Yasser Arafat, adding that Israeli forces entered the camp on foot after the strike and also destroyed an empty house.
Videos from Jabalia showed bodies covered in blood and dust on the floor of a building, where mattresses had been wedged under school tables in the Palestinian territory’s biggest refugee camp.
A separate strike on another building in the Jabalia camp on the same day killed 32 people from the same family, 19 of them children, the official said. The ministry released a list of the members of the Abu Habal family it said had died.
Gaza health authorities raised their death toll on Friday to more than 12,000 with 5,000 of them children. The United Nations deems those figures credible, though they are now updated infrequently due to the difficulty of collecting information.
Israel has told Palestinians to move from north Gaza for their safety, but deadly air strikes continued to hit central and southern areas of the narrow coastal territory.
The head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees on Saturday denounced strikes on UN-run schools in Gaza after the health ministry said at least 80 people had been killed in Jabalia.
Philippe Lazzarini said he had seen “horrifying images and footage of scores of people killed and injured” in one of his agency’s schools “sheltering thousands of displaced”. “These attacks cannot become commonplace, they must stop,” he posted on X, formerly Twitter.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people fled Gaza’s main hospital on foot after the Israeli army ordered an evacuation of the medical facility, where more than 2,000 people had been trapped by intense fighting and relentless Israeli bombing.
Exodus from Al Shifa
Columns of sick and injured — some of them amputees — displaced people, doctors and nurses, were seen making their way out of Al-Shifa hospital towards the seafront without ambulances, as loud explosions were heard around the facility.
On the way, an AFP journalist saw at least 15 bodies, some in advanced stages of decomposition, along a road lined by badly damaged shops and overturned vehicles as Israeli drones buzzed overhead.
The Palestinian health ministry said 120 wounded, along with an unspecified number of premature babies, were still at Shifa hospital, where Israel has been pressing military operations in the search for a supposed Hamas operations centre it claims lies under the sprawling complex.
However, Tel Aviv has not been able to present any solid evidence to back up its claims so far. The military says it has found rifles, ammunition, explosives and the entrance to a tunnel shaft at the hospital complex, claims that cannot be independently verified.
More than half of Gaza’s hospitals are no longer functional due to combat, damage or shortages, and people are waiting four to six hours for half the normal portion of bread.
On Saturday morning, Israeli troops took to loudspeakers to order the evacuation of Al-Shifa hospital “in the next hour”, an AFP journalist at the scene reported.
According to Ahmed El Mokhallalati, a doctor at the hospital, “most of the medical staff and patients had left” but he was staying at Al-Shifa along with five other doctors.
Despite the evacuation order, “many patients cannot leave the hospital as they are in the ICU beds or the baby incubators,” Mokhallalati said on X, formerly Twitter.
Separately, a two-day blackout caused by fuel shortages ended after a first delivery arrived from Egypt late on Friday, but UN officials continued to plead for a ceasefire, warning no part of Gaza is safe.
Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2023