An Israeli airstrike targeting a Hamas commander in the densely crowded Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza has caused mass destruction and civilian casualties, according to eyewitnesses and medics.
The overnight strike left behind apocalyptic scenes of devastation in the impoverished camp, including a huge crater and damaged buildings. Survivors described the attack as suddenly tearing through the crowded area without warning.
Israel’s military claims the strike killed senior Hamas commander Ibrahim Biari along with other militants. But Hamas strongly denies any commander’s presence in the refugee camp, accusing Israel of fabricating claims to justify civilian deaths.
Images from the aftermath show Palestinians desperately searching through rubble for victims buried under debris. Aid groups warn there is no safe place left in Gaza amid the unrelenting bombardment.
Rights organizations have condemned Israel’s weeks-long aerial campaign in Gaza that has now killed over 8,000 people, mostly women and children. They say the scale of killing civilians in the densely populated territory is intolerable, regardless of the war on Hamas.
The Jabalya camp, home to over 110,000 refugees, is one of the most impoverished and crowded areas of Gaza. The latest attack has compounded the humanitarian crisis, with power and internet cut to the territory afterward.
The civilian devastation has fueled outrage over Israel’s tactics, even as it insists Hamas militants use crowded areas to launch attacks.