Gazans mourn victims of an Israeli airstrike

Gazans mourn as they collect the bodies of Palestinians killed in an Israeli airstrike on December 24, 2023 in Khan Yunis.

(Photo: Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images)

Israeli Airstrikes Kill 76 Members of One Gaza Family

"This war must end," said the head of the United Nations agency where one of the victims worked. "No more families should endure the pain and suffering that Issam's family and countless others are experiencing."

Gaza officials said Saturday that Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City killed 76 members of an extended family in one of the deadliest attacks of a war one expert called "one of the most intense civilian punishment campaigns in history."

Health and civil defense officials said 90 people were killed when Israeli airstrikes flattened two homes in Gaza City on Friday. Seventy-six of the dead were members of the al-Mughrabi family.

The Associated Press reported that victims included longtime United Nations Development Program (UNDP) official Issam al-Mughrabi, his wife, and five of their children.

"For almost 30 years, Issam has worked with UNDP through our Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People. He will be remembered as a beloved member of the PAPP team," UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said in a statement. "The loss of Issam and his family has deeply affected us all. The U.N. and civilians in Gaza are not a target."

"This war must end," Steiner added. "No more families should endure the pain and suffering that Issam's family and countless others are experiencing."

During a lengthy Saturday call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Joe Biden "emphasized the critical need to protect the civilian population including those supporting the humanitarian aid operation, and the importance of allowing civilians to move safely away from areas of ongoing fighting," according to the White House.

This, after the United States wielded the threat of a veto to water down a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution so that the word "cease-fire" was removed in favor of language urging the creation of "conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities."

The U.S. abstained from the vote anyway.

Israeli bombs and bullets have killed hundreds of Palestinians since Friday, when Palestinian officials said that more than 10 weeks of Israel's near-relentless assault on Gaza had claimed more than 20,000 lives—around 70% of them women and children—while wounding more than 53,000 others, leaving thousands more missing and feared buried beneath rubble, and displacing around 1.9 million of the besieged enclave's 2.3 million people.

Common Dreams reported Saturday that more than 1,000 Palestinian elders have also killed by Israeli attacks during the 10-week Gaza onslaught, with dozens of men and women over age 60 "executed" by Israel Defense Forces troops, according to the Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor.

Gaza health officials said last month that at least 312 families had lost more than 10 members to Israeli attacks, while aid workers have been using a new acronym, WCNSF—which stands for "wounded child, no surviving family"—to describe a record number of orphaned minors.

One such child, 12-year-old Dunia Abu Mohsen, was killed last week in an Israeli aistrike on al-Nasser Hospital after surviving a previous bombing that took her parents, siblings, and one of her legs.

Public health and human rights groups are also sounding the alarm about the spread of communicable diseases and, increasingly, starvation, as Gazans—almost all of whom are trapped in the strip—reel from Israel's cutoff of most food, safe water, medicine, and hygiene staples. Experts warn children and elders are particularly at risk.

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