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Israel Bombards Gaza As it Expands Ground Offensive

December 26, 2023
Photo credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

At least 70 people were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a refugee camp in central Gaza on Sunday night, 24 December, and into Christmas Day, according to Palestinian health officials.

Early hospital figures released said that at least 12 women and seven children were among the dead at the Maghazi camp, east of Deir al-Balah. The Palestinian Health Ministry spokesperson described it as a “massacre”.

Israeli bombardment of Gaza has intensified in the last few days, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned recently that the war would soon intensify. The Israeli military responded by ordering residents of southern Gaza’s Khan Younis to relocate to Rafah on Tuesday, 26 December.

“The area you are staying in is considered a fight zone; for your safety, you must immediately flee to known shelters in the Shabora neighbourhood, Zohor, and Tal Al Sultan in Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip,” leaflets distributed on 26 December read.

Thousands of displaced Palestinians sheltering in Gaza’s Khan Younis have been targeted on the same day. According to the Palestine Red Crescent, artillery shelling injured multiple displaced people by striking and damaging the upper floors of its Khan Younis headquarters.

This year’s Christmas mass in Gaza was solemn because hundreds of displaced Palestinian Christians are still trapped in churches. In an effort to help those stranded inside the Church of St. Porphyrius in Gaza, the Jordanian military carried out its seventh airdrop.

Food supplies and humanitarian aid were dropped by air from a Royal Air Force aircraft. A statement claims that approximately 800 civilians, mostly Christians, are housed in the church and are suffering from a severe lack of basic supplies and food shortages.


After a surprise attack conducted on 7 October by Hamas on a number of southern Israeli towns which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,200 people and more than 220 being taken hostage by Hamas, Israel launched a retaliatory bombing campaign against what it describes as ‘terrorist targets’ in the Gaza Strip.

Over 20,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel in the Gaza Strip — including nearly 8,000 children — and over 53,000 others injured. Meanwhile, at least 259 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and at least 3,365 have been injured.

The priority of the Egyptian government since the beginning of the conflict has been de-escalation and the securing of a path for aid to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. Israel bombed the crossing at least six times, and limited aid trucks have crossed to Gaza so far, which UN officials warn is insufficient amid dire humanitarian conditions.

Most Western countries, with the United States at the forefront, have expressed unconditional support for Israel, despite the steadily rising death toll in Gaza. Meanwhile, the United Nations General Assembly has issued a resolution calling for a ceasefire on 8 December, and the Security Council issued a resolution calling for unrestricted aid to Gaza on 18 December.

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