Dozens of Palestinian bodies wrapped in white sheets are lined up in the street

The bodies of victims of the October 31, 2023 Israeli bombing of the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip are lined up outside the Indonesian Hospital in Gaza City.

(Photo: Fadi Alwhidi/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Gaza Death Toll Climbs as Israeli Bombing Leaves Jabalia Refugee Camp 'Completely Destroyed'

"What we are watching today is one of the darkest hours of our time," said one scholar. "We are watching genocide live."

Israeli bombardment of Gaza's largest refugee camp killed and wounded hundreds of people—many of them women and children—on Tuesday, Palestinian officials said.

Ahmad al-Kahlout, a spokesperson for Gaza's Interior Ministry, told reporters that the attack "completely destroyed" the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. Jabalia, along with the nearby al-Shati refugee camp, is located in an Israeli-designated evacuation zone.

"These buildings house hundreds of citizens. The occupation's air force destroyed this district with six U.S.-made bombs," said al-Kahlout. "It is the latest massacre caused by Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip."

The director of the nearby Indonesian Hospital said at least 50 people were killed in the strike.

A separate Israeli strike on a home in the al-Shati camp on Tuesday killed at least 10 people, Palestinian media reported.

"There aren't enough beds. The dead and wounded are on the floor," al-Khalout continued. "If we don't have fuel, operations will completely stop. The intensive care units, the kidney care patients, will all lose their lives."

"In this case," he added, "the world is signing the death warrant of those people."

Jabalia—with more than 116,000 registered residents packed in just 1.4 square kilometers—is the largest of Gaza's eight refugee camps and one of the most densely populated areas on Earth.

The camp, which was established in the wake of the ethnic cleansing of over 750,000 Arabs from Palestine during the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948, was the birthplace of the 1987-93 intifada, or uprising, against Israeli occupation and oppression.

Israeli forces bombed a United Nations school in Jabalia during the 2014 war on Gaza, killing 15 people—mostly women and children—sheltering there.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said Tuesday that "the past three weeks have provided devastating proof that disregarding the basic rules of law, international humanitarian law, is increasingly becoming the norm—and not the exception—with innocent civilians killed in unprecedented numbers in the Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians, and in the killing of Palestinian civilians and massive destruction of infrastructure caused by the ongoing Israeli military operation."

"As we speak... over 2 million Gazans, half of them children, are going through... hell on Earth," Grandi continued.

"A humanitarian cease-fire, coupled with substantive delivery of humanitarian aid inside Gaza can at least stop this spiral of death," he added.

Earlier on Tuesday, Gaza health officials said 8,525 people have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza since October 7, when Hamas-led militants infiltrated southern Israel and killed more than 1,400 civilians and soldiers while taking over 200 hostages.

"The victims include 3,542 children and 2,187 women, while 21,543 other people were injured," Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told reporters in Gaza City.

Nearly half of all homes in Gaza have also been destroyed or damaged, while more than 1.4 million residents have fled for their lives amid a nascent Israeli ground invasion and genocidal threats and statements from Israel's leaders.

Israeli public broadcaster Kan said Monday that 1,538 Israeli civilians and troops have been killed by Palestinian militants since October 7.

Aicha Elbasri, a researcher at the Arab Center for Research & Policy Studies, told Al Jazeera after the Jabalia bombing that "what we are watching today is one of the darkest hours of our time."

"We are watching genocide live," she added.

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