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90 killed in Israeli strikes on Jabalia camp as pressure grows for Gaza ceasefire

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Israel-Hamas War Updates: As many as 90 Palestinians were killed after Israel launched strikes on the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza on Sunday, Gaza’s health ministry spokesman told news agency Reuters.

Palestinian paramedics inspect damage in the patient rooms caused by the Israeli strikes on the maternity ward at Nasser Hospital in the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on December 17. (AP)
Palestinian paramedics inspect damage in the patient rooms caused by the Israeli strikes on the maternity ward at Nasser Hospital in the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on December 17. (AP)

Citing the health ministry, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that the strikes hit a residential block belonging to the al-Barsh and Alwan families in the town of Jabalia. Women and children were among the dead, with dozens still missing, Wafa said in its report.

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It added that the first responders and locals were searching for the wounded and more bodies were believed to be under the rubble. Many of those injured, including children, were taken to nearby medical centres, which are already overwhelmed with patients, the report said.

Reuters claimed the son of Dawoud Shehab, the spokesman for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, was among the dead.

“We believe the number of dead people under the rubble is huge but there is no way to remove the rubble and recover them because of the intensity of Israeli fire,” an official told Reuters by phone.

Israel kept up deadly strikes on the besieged Gaza Strip on Sunday despite growing international calls for a ceasefire and pleas from desperate relatives to bring home the remaining hostages.

The bloodiest ever Gaza war started with the Hamas attacks of October 7 and has devastated much of the Palestinian territory, sparking global concern.

The Gaza’s health ministry said at least 12 died in strikes on the central city of Deir al-Balah, while witnesses reported bombardment of Bani Suhaila east of Khan Yunis, Gaza’s second city, in the south.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again vowed “we will fight until the end. We will achieve all of our aims — eliminating Hamas, freeing all our hostages and ensuring that Gaza will not again become a centre for terrorism.”

But French foreign minister Catherine Colonna was the latest envoy to call for an “immediate and durable” truce leading to a lasting ceasefire as she visited Tel Aviv, stressing that “too many civilians are being killed”.

Her British and German counterparts, David Cameron and Annalena Baerbock, also bemoaned the high civilian toll but said it was not the right time for a ceasefire because it would not be sustainable.

The Gaza war started when Hamas militants burst through Gaza’s high-security border fence and launched the worst-ever attack on Israel on October 7, killing some 1,140 people, mostly civilians, and abducting 250, according to updated Israeli figures.

Hamas says Israel’s retaliatory offensive, including over two months of aerial bombardment and a ground invasion, has killed nearly 19,000 people, mostly women and children.

(With inputs from agencies)

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