Israeli air attacks have hit the densely populated Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, and initial reports suggest a large number of casualties.
The attack on Monday came as Israel has launched a massive air campaign against targets in Gaza after an unprecedented attack by Hamas that started on Saturday.
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The Palestinian news agency WAFA said the attack hit a market area, “killing and wounding dozens and causing heavy destruction”. The Reuters news agency also quoted the Gaza-based Ministry of Health as saying the attack has killed and wounded dozens of people.
Footage captured by Al Jazeera showed frantic scenes as rescue workers began to pull people from under the rubble.
A school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) was also hit in the attack on the camp, according to Al Jazeera’s Youmna ElSayed.
Reporting from Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, ElSayed said “dozens” of casualties had been brought there, including children.
She added that another Israeli attack hit the Shati refugee camp, also known as Beach Camp.
Overall, more than 500 Palestinians have been killed and about 2,700 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza as of Monday afternoon.
In Israel, the toll has surpassed 800 with more than 2,200 wounded in the attacks that began on Saturday with Hamas sending fighters into Israel and firing thousands of rockets.
Fighters broke through Israeli barriers with explosives and carried out attacks that killed civilians in towns and on highways while others were taken captive and moved to Gaza. More than 250 people attending a music festival were among those killed, according to the Zaka volunteer group, which helped collect the bodies.
Also on Monday, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel would impose a “total blockade” on Gaza, including a ban on admitting food and fuel and cutting off its electricity.
Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz also issued an order “to immediately cut the water supply” to Gaza, his spokesperson said.
Gaza has been under a crippling air, land and sea blockade since 2007 with devastating consequences for its more than two million residents, who face water and electricity shortages, as well as a lack of medicines.
“Nobody can anticipate what will happen in the coming days,” Al Jazeera’s Jamileh Abu Zanoon said, reporting from Gaza City.
“Power stations are running out of electricity. … There will be no electricity, food or water.”
Palestinians in Gaza braced for what many feared will be an Israeli ground attack aiming to defeat Hamas and liberate at least 100 Israeli hostages.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned civilians to get away from all Hamas sites, which he has promised to turn “to rubble”.
The army said it had called up about 300,000 reservists and said in a statement it would aim to end Hamas’s rule of Gaza.
“We have never drafted so many reservists on such a scale,” Israel’s chief military spokesperson, Daniel Hagari, told reporters. “We are going on the offensive.”