89 Gazans killed in surprise Israeli strikes over Eid

Published April 13, 2024
Palestinians carry their belongings while fleeing their homes after Israeli forces launched fresh strikes on the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, on Friday.—AFP
Palestinians carry their belongings while fleeing their homes after Israeli forces launched fresh strikes on the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, on Friday.—AFP

• Two Palestinians shot dead in occupied West Bank; TRT journalists wounded after being targeted in strike
• Tel Aviv claims aid trucks allowed into north; UN seeks IDF hotline for aid agencies

GAZA: A surprise ground assault on Thursday followed by Israeli bombardment from air, land and sea claimed dozens of lives on Eid day.

Residents of Al-Nusseirat camp reported that several houses and two mosques had been destroyed, while officials said at least 25 people had been killed and several wounded in an Israeli airstrike on a house in the Al-Daraj neighbourhood.

At least 89 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli military strikes in the span of 24 hours, the health ministry said.

On Friday, the health ministry said that at least 33,634 people have been killed and 76,214 wounded in the territory during more than six months of Israeli violence.

Mohammed al-Rayes, 61, told AFP that he fled Israeli “air strikes and artillery shelling” in Nuseirat, central Gaza overnight.

“It was all fire and destruction, with so many martyrs lying in the street,” he said.

Another resident, Laila Nasser, 40, reported “shells and missiles” throughout the night.

“They will do to Nuseirat what they did to Khan Younis,” said Nasser, vowing to flee to the southernmost city of Rafah, like most of Gaza’s population.

Separately, Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. One man was killed when Israeli soldiers opened fire on his vehicle in the city of Tubas, Wafa reported.

Another Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli gunfire when troops raided Al-Fara refugee camp near Tubas, the agency said.

Meanwhile, Turkish state television said one of its journalists in Gaza was badly wounded and another injured after they were targeted by an Israeli strike.

“The vehicle of a team from TRT Arabi (TRT’s Arabic-language channel) that was preparing to broadcast from the Nuseirat camp… was targeted by an Israeli army strike,” the broadcaster said.

“Sami Shahada, a freelance cameraman, was badly wounded,” it added.

TRT’s chief Zahid Sobaci said Shahada had “lost a foot and is currently in surgery”, calling the attack “Israeli brutality”.

 GAZA: Palestinians react as smoke billows after Israeli bombing in the Firas market area, amid the attacks that continued during Eidul Fitr.—AFP
GAZA: Palestinians react as smoke billows after Israeli bombing in the Firas market area, amid the attacks that continued during Eidul Fitr.—AFP

Aid trucks

The Israeli army claimed on Friday that an undisclosed number of aid trucks were allowed to enter Gaza a day earlier through a newly opened crossing in the north.

“The first food aid trucks entered through the new northern crossing from Israel into Gaza yesterday,” the Israeli agency that oversees supplies into the territory said on X.

A video the agency released in the tweet showed military vehicles and at least one truck laden with pallets full of tightly wrapped white bags entering Gaza.

“The trucks underwent thorough security checks by the security authorities of the Land Crossings Authority of the Ministry of Defence at the Kerem Shalom crossing, and were accompanied by IDF (army) soldiers,” the Israeli army said in a separate statement.

But despite repeated AFP requests for comment, Israeli authorities did not disclose how many trucks entered Thursday nor the exact location of the new crossing, which Israeli media reported to be close to the Zikim kibbutz.

However, the United Nations has called for a direct hotline to Israeli forces fighting in Gaza to combat mistrust and deliver aid safely and effectively.

Rather than going through liaison bodies, the UN and other humanitarian actors “need to be speaking to people who are firing guns”, outgoing UN humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick told a press briefing in Geneva.

“If we have a serious security incident, we don’t have a hotline,” he said, speaking by video-link from Jerusalem.

“The IDF have never worked with humanitarian organisers before in this type of environment. They don’t understand how we function, they don’t understand our language and what our purpose is. And we don’t understand their expectations.

He said agencies had been warning Israel about the flawed notification system before the April 1 fatal attack on staff from the World Central Kitchen (WCK) charity.

Since the WCK attack, which killed seven aid workers and triggered an international outcry, McGoldrick said: “I don’t think there’s been any notable improvement in terms of our ability to move around”, and humanitarian workers “fear for their own safety”.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2024

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