October 31, 2023 – Israel-Hamas war news | CNN


An Israeli strike targeting a Hamas commander in the densely populated Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza has left catastrophic damage and killed a large number of people, according to eyewitnesses and medics in the enclave.

According to a statement by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the airstrike targeted and killed Ibrahim Biari, whom it described as one of the Hamas commanders responsible for the October 7 attack on Israel, which left than 1,400 people dead and hundreds taken hostage.

The IDF also said “numerous other Hamas terrorists” were hit in the strike, and claimed the Central Jabalya Battalion had taken control of civilian buildings.

Hamas however has strongly denied the presence of one of its leaders in camp. Hazem Qassem, a spokesperson for the militant group, accused Israel of attempting to justify what he described as a “heinous crime against safe civilians, children, and women in Jabalya camp.”

The Ministry of Interior in Gaza reported that “20 homes were completely destroyed in the Israeli bombing that targeted a residential neighbourhood” in the Jabalya camp.

The director of Gaza’s Indonesian hospital, Dr. Atef al-Kahlout, told CNN that “hundreds” of dead and injured people arrived at the hospital. “Many are still under the rubble,” he added. 

“What you see is a scene no one can imagine: injured martyrs, charred bodies in the hundreds,” said Dr. Mohammad alRann of the Indonesian hospital, one of the largest in Gaza, which received many of the casualties from the strike. “The patients and injured are on the floors, beds, corridors and reception area.”

Photos of the site showed multiple large craters in the ground, surrounded by the rubble of destroyed and damaged buildings.

What to know about the camp: The Jabalya refugee camp is the largest of the Gaza Strip’s eight refugee camps, according to the main UN agency supporting Palestinians in the territory, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).    

Located north of Gaza City, Jabalya is the nearest camp to the Erez border crossing that – in more peaceful times – linked Gaza to Israel.

Many Palestinian refugees settled in the camp in the wake of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, after fleeing villages in what became the state of Israel, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). At last count in 2023, there were 116,011 Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA in the camp.

The camp is spread out across 1.4 square kilometers and has long grappled with overcrowding. According to UNRWA, many of the camp’s shelters are “built in close proximity” with many residents forced to add “extra floors to their shelters to accommodate their families.”

Clean water supply has also been a challenge in the camp with “with 90 percent of the water being unfit for human consumption,” according to UNRWA. In a UNRWA situation update dated October 27, the UN agency said that water wells were functional in the camp.

This post has been updated with new details about the airstrike on Jabalya.


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