An Israeli operation aimed at a Hamas leader in the crowded Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza resulted in significant destruction and the death of many individuals, as reported by eyewitnesses and healthcare workers in the area.
An eyewitness conveyed to CNN “I was waiting in line to buy bread when suddenly and without any prior warning seven to eight missiles fell.”
“There were seven to eight huge holes in the ground, full of killed people, body parts all over the place,” he added. “It felt like the end of the world.”
The Israel Defense Forces announced in a statement that the airstrike was directed at and resulted in the death of Ibrahim Biari, whom they identified as a key Hamas figure behind the October 7 assault on Israel.
This attack resulted in over 1,400 fatalities and the capture of several hundred individuals.
The IDF further mentioned that the operation also impacted “numerous other Hamas terrorists” and stated that the Central Jabalya Battalion had overtaken civilian structures. Hamas refuted claims of the presence of their leader in the camp.
Hazem Qassem, the group’s spokesperson, charged Israel with trying to rationalize what he termed a “heinous crime against safe civilians, children, and women in Jabalya camp.”
Image of the site depicted a massive pit amidst debris and ruined structures. Palestinians and emergency responders can be seen searching for survivors, with some manually clearing the debris.
During an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, IDF representative Lt. Col. Richard Hecht alleged Hamas of “hiding, as they do, behind civilians.”
When reminded of the innocent lives in the camp, Hecht stated, “This is the tragedy of war” and advised civilians to relocate further south.
Southern Gaza has experienced deadly airstrikes, with humanitarian groups consistently emphasizing the lack of safe zones in this secluded region.
The Israeli strikes on Gaza have resulted in the death of at least 8,485 individuals and injuries to over 21,000, as per records from the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah, sourced from the territory under Hamas administration.
A Scene No One Can Imagine
At the nearby Indonesian hospital, video footage revealed rows of deceased bodies on the facility’s floor and numerous injured individuals, including children, receiving medical attention.
Due to the facility’s capacity limitations, many injured individuals were treated directly on the ground. The hospital’s chief, Dr. Atef al-Kalhout, approximated that the explosion caused many fatalities.
“The sight before you is beyond comprehension: wounded individuals, hundreds of scorched bodies,” stated Dr. Mohammad al Rann. “Our only recourse is to continue providing care. The majority of injuries stem from blasts, trauma to the head, and limb losses.”
The Hamas-administered Ministry of Interior in Gaza announced that the bombardment had “completely razed” twenty residences.
Global Response Jabalya, similar to other refugee camps in the Strip, is densely packed with residences, commercial outlets, and apartment complexes, with many alleyways just about wide enough for vehicles.
Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, numerous Palestinian refugees settled in this camp after evacuating villages that later became part of Israel, as noted by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
As stated by UNRWA, Jabalya is Gaza’s most populous refugee camp, spanning approximately 1.4 square kilometers. It consistently faces population density issues and is one of the enclave’s most impoverished regions, also housing bustling open-air bazaars.
In the aftermath of the explosion, the Israeli human rights entity B’tselem censured Israel’s prolonged airstrikes on Gaza, denouncing the alarming “extent of casualties” in a Tuesday statement.
The statement read, “More than 8,000 people have been killed so far, more than half of them women and children. Entire buildings have collapsed with occupants still inside.”
“Whole families have been wiped out in an instant. This criminal harm to civilians is intolerable and the obvious needs to be stated again and again – not everything is allowed in war, including war on Hamas.”