Explosion at Al-Maghazi refugee camp kills more than 50, hospital official says
An explosion at the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza has resulted in the death of 52 people, according to a hospital official. The blast occurred late Saturday and was said to be the result of an Israeli airstrike, as reported by Mohammad al Hajj, communications director of Al-Aqsa Hospital. One resident of the camp described the incident, stating, “We were sitting in our houses and suddenly we heard a very, very loud explosion. It shook the whole area.”
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have stated that they are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the explosion. Dr. Khalil Al-Daqran, head of nursing at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, claims to have seen 33 bodies, also pointing the blame at an Israeli airstrike. “One of the houses in the camp was hit. This house was overcrowded with residents, and they were bombed while they were safe in their homes,” stated Dr. Al-Daqran.
As of now, the Israeli military has not made any comments regarding their alleged attack on the area. Dr. Al-Daqran has also mentioned that there are many women and children among the victims, and the death toll is expected to rise as more bodies are brought to the hospital. A video recorded at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital shows several bodies under a white tarp, including those of five children.
Eyewitness accounts from residents of the camp shed light on the devastation caused by the explosion. Jamal Al Aloul, a resident, stated that the building he was in collapsed, resulting in the death of his two children. Another resident, Samah Shaqoura, shared her terrifying experience, saying, “I saw a red light, then we were shaking on the couch, I saw all my sisters screaming (…). When I found myself alive, I looked to see who was still alive.” She discovered that her father did not survive.
Dr. Al-Daqran expressed the challenges faced by the hospital in dealing with the influx of patients from the incident. He cited shortages of fuel and supplies, as well as an inadequate number of hospital beds, as reasons why the hospital was struggling to provide proper treatment to the wounded.
The Al-Maghazi refugee camp, located in the central part of Gaza, is known for its narrow alleys and high population density. It houses over 33,000 people in an area of just 0.6 square kilometers, according to the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees. The IDF has repeatedly urged civilians in Gaza to move to southern Wadi Gaza as they intensify their assault on Gaza City and the northern regions.
The situation at Al-Maghazi refugee camp highlights the ongoing violence and devastation in Gaza, with innocent civilians bearing the brunt of the conflict. As investigations into the explosion continue, it is crucial to prioritize the safety and well-being of those affected, and work towards a peaceful resolution to the conflict.