Gaza authorities say 15 killed in Israeli strike on Bureij refugee camp

Israeli attacks have targeted refugee camps in Gaza for days, levelling buildings in tightly packed quarters.

Palestinians search for survivors of an Israeli strike in a destroyed building
Palestinians look for survivors in the rubble of a destroyed building after an Israeli air strike in the Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on November 2, 2023 [Hassan Eslaiah/AP Photo]

Gazan authorities say 15 people have been killed in an Israeli air strike on the Bureij refugee camp, marking the third bombing of a camp in as many days.

A spokesperson for Gaza Civil Defence said the strike on Thursday in central Gaza hit a residential building, and residents reported scores of people trapped beneath the rubble.

“My family and I were sitting, and all of a sudden, we heard a huge explosive. Everything was flying around us. We couldn’t see anything but dust and smoke. It was massive. The whole area is turned upside down … all in a second,” a survivor told Al Jazeera.

“That was my home [pointing to rubble]. Now it is totally in ruins. I do not know what to say. We are helpless.”

Bureij is a comparatively small refugee camp situated in the middle of the Gaza Strip. It is home to about 46,000 Palestinian refugees who are registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

Over the past several days, Israel has carried out numerous strikes on refugee camps inside Gaza, often some of the most densely populated areas of the besieged enclave.

Israel says it is targeting commanders with the armed Palestinian group Hamas, which carried out deadly attacks on southern Israel on October 7, which Israeli authorities said killed more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians.

But Israel’s bombing campaign has come under scrutiny as it levels entire city blocks and cuts off access to food, fuel and electricity for the strip’s 2.3 million residents.

Palestinian authorities said more than 9,000 people have been killed in the bombings and more than half Gaza’s population has been displaced.

In addition to the bombing of Bureij, Israel also struck the Jabalia camp for a third day in a row on Thursday. Palestinian authorities said Israeli strikes on Jabalia have thus far killed 195 people with 120 missing.

The UN high commissioner for human rights said such “disproportionate attacks” may constitute war crimes.

Residents of Bureij chanted “a massacre, a massacre” as they covered the bodies of those killed in Thursday’s strike with blankets.

Like many such camps in Gaza, it was originally built for Palestinian refugees from villages depopulated by Zionist forces during the founding of Israel in 1948, from which Palestinians were then barred from returning. The refugees who settled in Bureij mostly came from Palestinian towns east of Gaza.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies