30 killed in Gaza as Israeli attacks level homes, mosques
GAZA: (Web Desk) Rescue teams are searching for survivors as local authorities said 30 people had been killed in Israeli air attacks on “safe homes” and a mosque in central Gaza.
Health workers, patients and displaced Palestinians trapped inside al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City are “completely terrified”, reports Al Jazeera’s Tareq Abu Azzoum as videos show Israeli snipers killing at least seven Palestinians nearby.
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees has shared footage of one of its health centres around widespread destruction, saying, “There is nothing left. This is an unprecedented level of destruction and forced displacement, taking place in front of our eyes.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that an independent review group, helmed by former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, will conduct an assessment of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) following Israeli allegations that members of the organisation took part in the October 7 attack.
“Antonio Guterres, in consultation Philippe Lazzarini, has appointed an independent review group to assess whether UNRWA is doing everything within its power to ensure neutrality and respond to allegations of serious breaches,” a UN spokesperson said in a statement.
Several Western countries have suspended funding for UNRWA, sparking criticism from rights advocates who say that weakening the agency will deepen the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
The group has urged rights organisations to document and follow up on the stories of Palestinians who had been detained by Israeli forces in Gaza and reported torture and humiliation during their captivity.
“These testimonies about the violations committed by Israel against abductees in Gaza are another piece of evidence that it is deliberately committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, which call for prosecution in international court,” Hamas said in a statement.
Palestinians are hoping that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to the region will finally deliver a truce, in time to head off a threatened new Israeli assault on Rafah, the last refuge at the enclave’s edge.
“We want the war to end and we want to go back home – this is all that we want at this stage,” Yamen Hamad, 35, a father of four sheltering at a UN school in Deir el-Balah in central Gaza, told Reuters news agency.
The area is one of the few where Israeli tanks have yet to advance, and it is now jammed with tens of thousands of displaced families.
“All we do is listen to the news through small radios and view the internet looking for hope. We hope that Blinken will tell [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu enough is enough, and we hope our factions decide in the best interest of our people.”
The commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has said that nearly five percent of the Gaza Strip’s population has been either killed or wounded – or gone missing.
“In 4 months of war, around 100,000 people in Gaza were killed, injured or are currently missing,” Philippe Lazzarini said in a post on X.
More than 80 percent of the 2.3 million population has been displaced, most of them several times over, he added.
“A ceasefire is overdue, a different trajectory is needed for the sake of people in Gaza, in Israel, elsewhere in the region and beyond,” he said.