Gaza death toll climbs to 9,000 as another refugee camp hit by Israel

A Palestinian child wounded in Israeli bombardment is brought to a hospital in Deir al Balah, south of the Gaza Strip, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023

GAZA — An Israeli strike hit a residential building in the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza on Thursday, killing at least 15 people, Gaza’s Civil Defense spokesperson said.

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Speaking to Al Jazeera, Mahmoud Bassal said it has been difficult for civil defence vehicles and first responders to arrive to clear the wreckage.

Residents said dozens of people were trapped under the rubble. The strike created a large crater and severely damaged the buildings around it. A survivor speaking to the television network compared it to an earthquake.

Bassal said Gaza Civil Defense paramedics and first responders are struggling because of crippled infrastructure and fuel shortages.

He added they have relied on donations of fuel by individual Palestinians from their personal supplies to run ambulances and other vehicles.

Israel has banned the transport of fuel into Gaza.

Gaza’s Ministry of Health said on Thursday that more than 9,000 Palestinians have been killed since war broke out more than three weeks ago.

Dr. Ashraf al-Qidra, a ministry spokesperson, said 9,061 people have been killed in Gaza, including 3,760 under 18.

The figure is without precedent in decades of Israeli-Palestinian violence and is around four times the toll from the 2014 Gaza war, which lasted over six weeks.

More than 1,400 people have been killed on the Israeli side, the vast majority of civilians killed by Hamas in its bloody 7 October incursion into Israel, also an unprecedented number.

Seventeen Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza since the start of ground operations.

The Health Ministry is part of the Hamas-run government but includes doctors and veteran civil servants who are not affiliated with the group.

Its tolls from previous wars have held up to UN scrutiny, independent investigations and even Israel’s tallies.

Al-Qidra warned of an “imminent health catastrophe” after the main generator in a hospital in northern Gaza failed and other hospitals face shortages of fuel and medicine.

He said the generator at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the territory’s largest hospital, appears likely to fail soon.

“We appeal to all parties to provide safe passage for the urgent flow of medical aid into Gaza,” he said. — Euronews