Israel confirms it launched airstrike on Gaza refugee camp that killed dozens

The death toll of the airstrike launched on the Jabaliya refugee camp - which witnesses said felt like an 'earthquake' - is still being counted, reports ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo

  • At least 50 people have been killed following an Israeli airstrike at a refugee camp, Gaza's Health Ministry said.

  • Israel's military confirmed it carried out the attack, but says it was targeting a Hamas commander.

  • A number of non-Israeli hostages are to be released in the coming days, Hamas has confirmed.

  • The Rafah crossing will open on Wednesday to allow 81 "seriously injured" Palestinians out of Gaza, a border official says.

  • Gaza's Health Ministry said the Palestinian death toll has surpassed 8,300 - most of them women and children - while more than 1,400 people died in Israel during attacks by Hamas - including at least 310 soldiers - according to the Israeli government.

Israel has claimed responsibility for an airstrike that struck a northern Gaza refugee camp that killed dozens of people and injured hundreds more.

Gaza's Health Ministry said a number of airstrikes hit apartment blocks in a residential area of Jabaliya refugee camp on Tuesday.

Israel claimed it was targeting a Hamas leader.

Just hours later, Hamas announced it will release a number of non-foreign hostages in the coming days on the grounds that the group has a "lack of desire or need to keep them or continue holding them in Gaza."

Taking responsibility for the strike on the refugee camp, Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, told CNN a Hamas commander was the target, but that he was “hiding, as they do, behind civilians.”

He described the loss of civilian life at the camp as "the tragedy of war," and reiterated the call for civilians to evacuate the north of the Strip.

Mr Hecht said the Hamas commander who was the target of the strike “killed many Israelis.”

“It's a very complicated battle space,” Mr Hecht said of the area the IDF struck. “There could be infrastructure there, tunnels there. We're looking into it and (will) give you more data as the hour moves ahead.”

Given the scale of the attack, there are conflicting reports over the death toll. Gaza's health ministry reported 50 people were killed and 150 injured.

The casualty count is only expected to rise, "hundreds" of dead and wounded arrived at Gaza's Indonesian hospital, its director, Dr Atef al-Kahlout, told CNN.

Images from the scene show deep craters surrounded by collapsed buildings, with people searching the debris for bodies.

The IDF claims it killed Hamas Commander Ibrahim Biari and said he was one of the leaders responsible for the October 7 attacks in Israel.

It added: "Numerous Hamas terrorists were hit in the strike."

Hamas announces it will release some foreign hostages in coming days

In a video statement, a spokesman for al-Qassam Brigades - the military wing of the group - said it has plans to release some non-Israeli hostages following mediation talks with some countries that have not yet been named.

An estimated 240 people have been held by Hamas since the October 7 incursion, with just four of the captives being released for varying reasons across the past few weeks.

The spokesman did not reveal how many hostages would be freed, but said the group no longer had the "desire" or "need" to keep them.

He also denied that Israeli troops were able to release one of the hostages held by Hamas, adding that the soldier the Israeli military claimed to recover earlier this week, Private Ori Megidish, must have been freed from another militant group.

Private Ori Megidish (centre) was released, the Israel Defence Forces said. Credit: IDF

On Monday, Israel celebrated the release of Private Megidish who was held captive by proscribed terror group Hamas, after troops and tanks pushed deeper into Gaza.

As Israel expands its ground operations inside Gaza, the Hamas spokesman also claimed its defence operations were "still beginning".

Dozens of Palestinian patients to be allowed into Egypt for treatment

The Rafah border crossing is set to open on Wednesday morning to allow 81 Palestinians in need of treatment out of Gaza, according to an Egyptian border official.

Speaking to CNN, they confirmed the citizens were “seriously injured” patients from Gaza who will be taken to hospitals in Egypt.

It is not yet clear the basis on which the injured have been selected.

The opening would be the first, small-scale humanitarian corridor for citizens, with the border previously only being used as a tightly restricted access point for aid trucks to enter into Gaza.

More than 66 trucks of humanitarian aid have flowed into the Gaza Strip through the crossing over the previous 24 hours, the White House has said.

It marks the highest single day delivery of aid since the siege, but the National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said fuel stock remains perilously low.

Trucks with humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip enter from Egypt's Rafah border crossing. Credit: Fatima Shbair/AP

Rishi Sunak urged Israel's Netanyahu to take 'all possible measures to minimise civilian casualties' 

Rishi Sunak told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the importance of taking “all possible measures to minimise civilian casualties” in a phone call on Tuesday.

A Downing Street spokesperson Mr Sunak stressed the "importance of rapidly increasing the flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza and welcomed Israel’s commitment to facilitate significantly more deliveries."

He reinstated his favour of "temporary humanitarian pauses" to ensure life-saving aid reaches civilians but reiterated his position on Israel's right to defend itself.

The spokesperson said the leaders discussed the safe return of hostages, the situation in the West Bank and the goal of a two-state solution.

“The Prime Minister noted the importance of all sides avoiding actions that would inflame tensions and keeping hope alive for a more secure and prosperous future for both Israelis and Palestinians," they added,

It is not clear if the men discussed the attack on Jabaliya refugee camp.

Rishi Sunak spoke with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the phone on Tuesday Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Protestors storm Liverpool Street station calling for end to Gaza siege

A group of pro-Palestinian activists staged a sit-in at Liverpool Street station on Tuesday evening.

More than 500 people joined the protest at around 5.30pm on Tuesday to demand an immediate ceasefire to Israel’s attacks on Gaza and an end to arms exports to Israel.

Palestinian music and chants such as “ceasefire now” could be heard from the crowds at the sit-in, which was organised by direct action group Sisters Uncut.

Aid agencies warn of risk to hospitals as risk to life increases

The UN is warning that continued air strikes are hitting closer to hospitals, where tens of thousands of Palestinians have sought shelter alongside thousands of wounded.

All ten hospitals operating in northern Gaza have received evacuation orders, according to the UN's office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs.

But staff have refused to accept the order, saying it would be impossible to complete without endangering patient lives.

The UN Security Council convened an emergency meeting on Monday, where the head of its agency for Palestinian refugees said an "an immediate humanitarian ceasefire has become a matter of life and death for millions".

People sift through the rubble of a destroyed building following Israeli strikes on Al-Shatee camp in Gaza City. Credit: CNN

Philippe Lazzarini warned a further breakdown of civil order, in the wake of UN warehouses being looted by desperate Palestinians, "will make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the largest UN agency in Gaza to continue operating".

During the meeting, Israel's ambassador, Gilad Erdan, criticised the other 14 members of the security council for failing to condemn Hamas' attacks.

He said he will wear a yellow star, similar to what the Nazis forced Jewish people to wear in World War Two, "until you condemn the atrocities of Hamas and demand the immediate release of our hostages".

Mr Erdan, along with other Israeli diplomats, then placed a large six-pointed yellow star of David, saying "Never Again", on his jacket.

UNICEF, meanwhile, which oversees water and sanitation issues for the UN, has warned that "the lack of clean water and safe sanitation is on the verge of becoming a catastrophe".

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