The Hamas-run Health Department of Gaza has said that at least 195 Palestinians died in Israel’s bombing attacks on the Jabalia refugee camp.
U.N. human rights officials said these bombings could be war crimes, but Israelis claim that the buildings hit were deemed to be legitimate Hamas military targets.
Meanwhile at least 320 foreign passport-holders on an initial list of 500, as well as scores of badly-injured Gazans, crossed into Egypt Wednesday under a deal among Israel, Egypt and Hamas.
Passport holders from Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, the United Kingdom and the United States were included in the exodus at the southern crossing point with Egypt.
Gaza border officials said the border crossing would reopen on Thursday so more foreigners could exit. A diplomatic source said some 7,500 foreign passport holders would leave Gaza over about two weeks.
Pressing an offensive against Hamas militants, Israel has bombed Gaza by land, sea and air in its campaign to wipe out Hamas after the Islamist group’s cross-border rampage into southern Israel on Oct. 7th.
Israel said Hamas killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and took more than 200 hostages.
The Gaza health ministry says at least 8,796 Palestinians in the narrow coastal enclave, including 3,648 children, have been killed by Israeli strikes since Oct.7. The Gaza ministry numbers do not identify how many of that number may have been members of the military wing of Hamas, or whether people have been dying of thirst or hunger.
Explosions were heard in the early hours of Thursday around the al-Quds hospital in densely populated Gaza City, the Palestinian Red Crescent said. Israeli authorities had previously warned the hospital to evacuate immediately, which U.N. officials said was impossible without endangering patients.
Israel said its strikes on Tuesday and Wednesday killed two Hamas military leaders in Jabalia, Gaza’s biggest refugee camp.
Israel said the group had command centers and other “terror infrastructure under, around and within civilian buildings, intentionally endangering Gazan civilians.”
Gaza’s Hamas-run media office said on Thursday that at least 195 Palestinians were killed in the two Israeli attacks on Jabalia, with 120 missing under the rubble. At least 777 people were wounded, it said in a statement.
Palestinians on Wednesday sifted through rubble in a desperate hunt for trapped victims. “It is a massacre,” said one witness.
U.N. human rights officials said strikes on the camp could be a war crime.
“Given the high number of civilian casualties and the scale of destruction following Israeli air strikes on Jabalia refugee camp, we have serious concerns that these are disproportionate attacks that could amount to war crimes,” the U.N. high commissioner for human rights wrote on social media site X, formerly known as Twitter.
The Israeli military said one soldier was killed in Gaza on Wednesday. Fifteen were killed on Tuesday.
Amid growing international calls for a humanitarian pause in hostilities, conditions in the seaside enclave are increasingly desperate under Israel’s assault and tightened blockade. Food, fuel, drinking water and medicine have run short.
Dr. Fathi Abu al-Hassan, a U.S. passport holder waiting to cross into Egypt on Wednesday, described hellish conditions in Gaza without water, food or shelter.
“We open our eyes on dead people and we close our eyes on dead people,” he said.
Hospitals have struggled as shortages of fuel forced shutdowns including Gaza’s only cancer hospital. Israel has refused to let humanitarian convoys bring in fuel, citing concern that Hamas fighters would divert it for military purposes.