Families make their way through the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israeli strikes on al-Shati refugee camp on Saturday.—AFP
Families make their way through the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israeli strikes on al-Shati refugee camp on Saturday.—AFP

GAZA STRIP: Israel’s military pounded Gaza on Saturday, a day after the International Committee of the Red Cross said 22 people were killed in shelling that damaged its office in a southern town of the besieged Palestinian territory.

The ICRC said the 22 dead and 45 wounded people were taken to a field hospital after shelling with “heavy calibre projectiles” near its office in al-Mawasi, a coastal town in southern Gaza.

“Firing so dangerously close to humanitarian structures puts the lives of civilians and humanitarians at risk,” the ICRC said on X.

Meanwhile, 42 people were killed in Israeli attacks on districts of Gaza City, in the north of the Palestinian enclave, on Saturday.

One Israeli strike on houses in al-Shati, one of the Gaza Strip’s eight historic refugee camps, killed 24 people. Another 18 Palestinians were killed in a strike on houses in al-Tuffah neighbourhood.

TV footage showed Palestinians rushing out to search for victims amid destroyed houses. The footage showed wrecked homes, blasted walls, and debris and dust filling the street in Shati refugee camp.

The Israeli military released a brief statement saying: “A short while ago, IDF (Israeli defence forces) fighter jets struck two Hamas military infrastructure sites in the area of Gaza City.”

Hamas did not comment on the Israeli claim to have hit its ‘military infrastructure’. It said the attacks targeted civilians and vowed in a statement “the occupation and its Nazi leaders will pay the price for their violations against our people”.

Witnesses reported gun battles between Hamas and Israeli forces in Gaza City on Saturday. They also reported Israeli helicopters firing at fighters in the city’s Zeitun neighbourhood.

Earlier, the Israeli military said troops had continued to carry out operations in central Gaza and that its jets had struck targets across the Palestinian territory.

The Israeli army said on June 16 it would implement a daily “tactical pause of military activity” in a southern corridor to facilitate aid delivery.

But Richard Peeperkorn of the World Health Organisation said “we did not see an impact on the humanitarian supplies coming in”.

“We don’t see any aid,” said Umm Mohammad Zamlat, 66, from northern Gaza, now living in Khan Younis, in the south.

“Even agencies specialised in aid deliveries are not able to provide anything to us,” she added.

Dr Thanos Gargavanis, a WHO trauma surgeon and emergency officer, said the UN in Gaza was trying to “operate in an unworkable environment”.

According to the WHO, 17 of the 36 hospitals in Gaza are operational, but only partially.

Focus on Rafah, Deir al-Balah

After destroying much of Gaza’s infrastructure, Israel’s advance is now focused on Rafah and the area surrounding Deir al-Balah.

Residents say Israeli tanks have deepened their incursion into western and northern Rafah areas in recent days. On Saturday, Israeli forces bombed several areas from air and the ground, forcing many families living in areas described as humanitarian-designated zones to leave northwards. Howe­ver, the Israeli military said forces continued “precise, intelligence-based” oper­ations in Rafah.

Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2024

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