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Israeli airstrikes target Hamas in Jabaliya refugee camp; Gaza officials say civilians killed

Dozens killed in airstrike on Gaza refugee camp
Dozens killed in Israeli airstrike on Gaza refugee camp 04:45

Israel carried out airstrikes and ground operations Tuesday in the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, targeting what it called a Hamas "terrorist stronghold." Palestinian officials said civilians were killed in the strikes that leveled several apartment buildings in the densely built-up area on the outskirts of Gaza City.

The director of Gaza's Indonesian hospital told Al Jazeera that at least 50 people were killed and 150 were wounded in the bombardment, the Reuters news agency reported. The numbers could not be independently confirmed.

Palestinians search for casualties at the site of Israeli strikes in Jabalia refugee camp, Gaza
Palestinians search for casualties at the site of Israeli strikes on the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, Oct. 31, 2023. STRINGER / REUTERS

The Hamas-run Interior Ministry said apartment blocks were destroyed and there were a large number of casualties, but it did not immediately provide details, the Associated Press reported.

Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht told CNN that Hamas terrorists were "hiding, as they do, behind civilians." 

Israel's military said Hamas has built terrorist infrastructure under residences, and it claims the operation killed a Hamas leader involved in the deadly Oct. 7 rampage in southern Israel. During that surprise attack, Hamas fighters infiltrated into Israeli communities, slaughtering families in their homes and young people at a music festival, killing 1,400 people, Israel says, and taking about 230 hostages.

Since then, the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza says three weeks of Israeli strikes have killed over 8,500 people, including 3,500 children. An estimated 1 million people have been displaced from the northern half of Gaza, according to the United Nations. Calls for a halt to Israel's bombardment of Gaza have continued to grow as military operations ramped up in recent days. 

The IDF said in a statement that approximately 50 terrorists were killed in the operation in Jabaliya, and that it destroyed entrances to underground tunnels, which are used by Hamas to store weapons, plan and launch attacks.  

The IDF said after the strikes, "an underground military infrastructure of Hamas collapsed under these buildings."

The Israeli military also said Ebrahim Biari, whom it identified as Hamas' commander of the Jabaliya center battalion, was killed in the recent strikes — one of at least 55 Hamas leaders Israel says it has killed in the war so far.

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