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Gaza officials say Israeli strike near Rafah hospital kills 11

Tan KW
Publish date: Sun, 03 Mar 2024, 10:54 AM
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GAZA STRIP, Palestinian Territories: The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said an Israeli strike hit tents housing displaced civilians near a hospital in the southern city of Rafah Saturday, killing 11 and wounding dozens.

A paramedic was among those killed and children were wounded in the blast close to the Emirati Maternity Hospital, ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said in a statement.

"Eleven citizens were martyred and about 50 injured, including children, as a result of Israeli forces targeting tents of displaced people near the Emirati hospital," Qudra said.

The Israeli military said it was looking into the incident.

Footage posted on social media, which AFP could not independently verify, appeared to show bloodied bodies in the streets as crowds gathered, with men carrying away the wounded for treatment.

An AFP journalist saw wounded people being rushed on stretchers to the Kuwaiti Hospital, also in Rafah.

"Destruction is everywhere and there are many martyrs," said Rafah resident Belal Abu Jekhleh.

"Suddenly the glass shattered and a fire broke out. Everyone fled, some of whom were martyred and others injured. I was injured in my hands and head, and my brother was also injured."

Israeli troops have carried out multiple operations in and around hospitals in the Gaza Strip since they launched their offensive in the Palestinian territory.

Israel has repeatedly accused Hamas of using hospitals for military purposes, something the Palestinian group denies.

An estimated 1.5 million Palestinians have sought refuge in Rafah, raising fears of mass casualties if Israel goes through with a planned ground invasion of the city.

Mediators are scrambling to secure a new truce ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which begins on March 10 or 11, depending on the lunar calendar.

The war in Gaza broke out with Hamas's unprecedented attack on southern Israel on October 7 that resulted in the deaths of around 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli figures.

Israel's retaliatory military campaign against Hamas has killed at least 30,320 people, mostly women and children, according to Gaza's health ministry.

 -AFP

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