Israeli Airstrikes Pound Gaza’s Jabalia Camp as Troops Clash with Hamas

Airstrikes level apartment buildings in Gaza refugee camp, casualties unknown

In a series of devastating Israeli airstrikes on Tuesday, apartment buildings in a refugee camp near Gaza City were leveled, leaving rescuers scrambling to pull survivors from the rubble. The strikes, targeting a senior Hamas military leader, also destroyed a militant command center and an underground tunnel network, according to Israel. The toll from the attack in the Jabaliya camp is still unknown, with hundreds of people reportedly wounded or killed.

Israel-Hamas war Day 26

“We don’t intend for the ground to collapse, but the issue is that Hamas built their tunnels there and that they’re running their operations from there,” said military spokesman Jonathan Conricus, defending the attack.

The Israeli military claimed that dozens of militants were killed, including a key Hamas commander for northern Gaza. However, both sides’ accounts could not be independently confirmed.

A surge in casualties expected as Israeli troops advance into northern Gaza

The airstrikes highlight the anticipated increase in casualties on both sides as Israeli troops make their way deeper into the northern Gaza Strip, moving closer to densely populated residential areas. Israel has vowed to crush Hamas’ ability to govern Gaza and eliminate its threat to Israel following the October 7 assault that sparked the ongoing war. Hamas openly advocates for the destruction of Israel.

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Israel reported its first military deaths since the ground offensive into Gaza began, with two soldiers killed in fighting in the northern part of the territory. Several hundred thousand Palestinians remain in the path of the ground assault in northern Gaza, seeking refuge in overcrowded homes and overwhelmed hospitals.

In the Jabaliya refugee camp, rescuers are desperately searching for survivors amidst the wreckage of buildings that have been obliterated or partially collapsed. Many young men have been seen carrying the motionless forms of children from damaged apartment buildings, their fate unclear. The area is covered in gray dust, believed to be remnants of pulverized concrete.

A key Hamas commander killed, while ground troops take control of a military stronghold

The Israeli military confirmed that the targeted commander, Ibrahim Biari, played a significant role in the initial attack on October 7 and had been involved in anti-Israeli attacks for decades. On the same day, ground troops also seized control of a Hamas military stronghold in west Jabaliya, claiming to have killed 50 militants. However, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem refuted these claims, accusing the military of trying to justify their “heinous crime” against civilians.

The Israeli military is urging civilians to evacuate northern Gaza and move south, citing the presence of Hamas fighters among them as a danger. They have emphasized their intention to strike Hamas wherever it is found. While some 800,000 Palestinians have reportedly fled to the south, many remain in the north, fearing that nowhere is safe due to ongoing Israeli airstrikes in the region.

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Unprecedented death toll and escalating tensions in the region

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, over 8,500 Palestinians have been killed in the war, with the majority being women and minors. This figure is unprecedented in decades of Israeli-Palestinian violence. On the Israeli side, over 1,400 people have died, mostly civilians targeted during Hamas’ initial attack, also an unprecedented number. Palestinian militants have also abducted around 240 people and continue to launch rockets into Israel.

The war’s impact has stretched beyond Gaza, with daily exchanges of fire between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah along the border. Israel and the U.S. have also carried out strikes in Syria, targeting sites connected to Hamas’ supporters, including Iran. The conflict has sparked fears of further fighting on various fronts.

Humanitarian crisis in Gaza amid damaged hospitals and scarce supplies

The war has exacerbated Gaza’s humanitarian crisis, with the World Health Organization reporting damage to two hospitals and the destruction of an ambulance in the past two days. All 13 hospitals operating in the north have received evacuation orders from Israel. However, medical personnel have refused to comply, stating that it would be a death sentence for patients reliant on life support.

Shifa Hospital, Gaza City’s largest medical facility, is on the verge of running out of fuel, further compromising healthcare. The territory has been without central electricity for weeks, and Israel has restricted the entry of fuel needed to power generators, citing concerns about it falling into the hands of Hamas. Limited amounts of food, water, medicine, and other supplies have been allowed to enter from Egypt, but relief groups argue that it is insufficient.

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The ongoing conflict has displaced more than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million Palestinians, with many seeking refuge in overcrowded UN-run schools or hospitals. The situation remains dire, with the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, reporting the deaths of 64 staff members since the war’s commencement.

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