GAZA/DOHA/JERUSALEM: An Israeli strike on Gaza City killed 20 Palestinians and wounded 150 who were queuing for food aid on Thursday (Jan 25), Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said, in what Palestinian groups called a “war crime”.
The Israeli military said it was looking into the report. The National and Islamic Forces Follow-up Committee, a coalition of militant and political groups, said Israeli forces targeted the civilians waiting for relief aid. Dozens were killed and injured in a “war crime and genocide,” the group said in a statement.
To the south of the enclave Israeli tanks battered areas around two hospitals in Gaza’s main southern city Khan Younis, forcing displaced people into a new desperate scramble for safety, residents said.
Meanwhile, in the north, a World Health Organization official described the food situation as “absolutely horrific” and humanitarian workers said rare deliveries of aid were mobbed by desperate people who were visibly starving with sunken eyes.
Most of the Gaza Strip’s 2.3 million population is now squeezed into Khan Younis and towns just north and south of it, after being driven out of Gaza’s northern half earlier in Israel’s military campaign, now in its fourth month.
Gaza health officials said at least 50 Palestinians had been killed in the past 24 hours in Khan Younis, where Israel has shifted full-blown military operations after starting to pull forces out of northern areas it says it now largely controls.
“There’s no safe area, where shall we go? Stop the war, it is enough, we are drained, everyone is drained, children are gone, and adults are gone. Everyone is gone and the world is watching,” a Palestinian woman said in Rafah, on Gaza’s southern edge.
In its latest update, the Israeli military said forces in Khan Younis were fighting militants at close quarters and were using precision air strikes and snipers to take out multiple Hamas targets.