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Oct 31, 2023, 2:56pm EDT

Israel confirms it was behind deadly strike on Gaza’s largest refugee camp

Palestinians search for casualties at the site of a blast in the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, October 31, 2023.
REUTERS/Abed Sabah
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A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces confirmed that Israel attacked Gaza’s largest refugee camp, where local doctors said at least dozens were killed Tuesday.

Photos from the neighborhood in the Jabalia refugee camp showed large craters in the ground surrounded by rubble, as residents searched for survivors and bodies.

The total number of people killed in the strike wasn’t immediately clear. A doctor at a nearby hospital told The Wall Street Journal that he saw dozens of dead bodies and hundreds of injured people arrive at the hospital after the blast.

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IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that the IDF was targeting a senior Hamas commander in the area. The IDF later claimed that fighter jet strikes killed Ibrahim Biari, who they said was a Hamas commander overseeing military operations in the northern Gaza Strip. Hamas reportedly denied the assertion that one of its leaders was in the camp.

When Blitzer pointed to Hecht that there were lots of refugees and “innocent civilians,” including children, living in the camp, Hecht responded: “This is the tragedy of war. ... We’ve been saying for days, move south.”

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The Hamas-controlled Ministry of Interior in Gaza said “20 homes were completely destroyed” in the camp, CNN reported.

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According to a UN agency focused on Palestinian refugees, over 116,000 refugees were registered in the camp as of this year. It covers 1.4 square kilometers.

Israel stepped up its incursion into northern Gaza in recent days, in retaliation for Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel. The Israeli military said on Tuesday that it had hit about 300 targets in Gaza in the last day.

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