Israeli fighter jets attacked a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip early Sunday, killing at least 33 people and wounding dozens, according to health authorities. Israel said it would maintain its offensive to crush Hamas, which rules the territory, despite calls from the United States for a pause in hostilities to bring aid to desperate civilians.
The huge death toll in Gaza has sparked growing international outrage. Tens of thousands of people, from Washington to Berlin, took to the streets Saturday to demand an immediate ceasefire.
Israel has rejected the idea of stopping its offensive, even for the brief humanitarian pauses proposed by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is touring the region. Instead, he has claimed that Hamas, which rules the besieged enclave, would face the “full force” of its troops.
“Anyone in Gaza City is risking their life,” said Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.
Large columns of smoke rose as the Israeli army said it had surrounded Gaza City, the initial objective of its offensive against Hamas. Gaza’s Health Ministry said more than 9,400 Palestinians had been killed in the territory in nearly a month of war, and the number was likely to rise as the attack continued.
On Sunday morning, airstrikes hit the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza, killing at least 33 people and wounding 42, Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said.
Emergency workers were still searching through the rubble with the help of neighbors to recover bodies or remove possible survivors.
The camp is located in the evacuation zone to which the Israeli army had urged Palestinian civilians in Gaza to take refuge, as it focused its military offensive on the north of the enclave.
Despite these requests, Israel has continued its bombing throughout the territory, stating that it attacks Hamas fighters and assets anywhere. He has accused the militia of using civilians as human shields.
Critics say Israel’s attacks are often disproportionate, given the large number of women and children killed in those attacks.