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War on Gaza: Israeli bombs kill 40 and wound 100 more in Deir al-Balah

Majority of those killed in deadliest attack in recent days were women and children, according to government media office in Gaza
Wounded Palestinians at the hospital following Israeli airstrikes on residential buildings in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, on 22 February 2024 (Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Reuters)
Wounded Palestinians at the hospital following Israeli air strikes on residential buildings in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, on 22 February 2024 (Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Reuters)
By Osama Kahlout in Deir al-Balah, occupied Palestine

Israeli air strikes on Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza, have killed at least 40 people and wounded over 100 others, in one of the deadliest attacks on Palestinians in days. 

The majority of those killed and wounded were women and children, according to the government media office in Gaza. 

Standing outside Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital, a man cradled the body of his dead baby, which was covered in a white, bloodied sheet.

The man, who did not give his name, told Middle East Eye that his son, Muhannad, was born on 10 October, three days after the start of the war.

"God gave him to me during the war and they took him away from me during the war," the man said, visibly shaken by grief.

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The man said he and his family had set up a tent on the roof of a building of some people they knew, after being displaced from their own homes.

"It was the first night that we had slept in the tent, and then a missile dropped on us, killing 10 of us and wounding the rest," he said.

"God be kind," he added, rocking his child as he walked away among other Palestinians mourning over the shrouded bodies of their loved ones.

'Heinous massacre'

Israeli jets hit four homes in Deir al-Balah on Thursday night, including that of the Attar family, as well as the Yaghi family's home in the town of al-Zawaida, Wafa news agency reported. 

Al-Jazeera's reporter in Rafah, southern Gaza, said that residential homes in Deir al-Balah were "attacked without any prior warning". 

The Gaza government media office described the attacks as a "heinous massacre". 

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"We hold the American administration and the international community, additionally to Israel, fully responsible for these ongoing crimes, and we call on the free world to immediately put an end to this war of extermination that the Israeli army is waging against civilians," it said. 

Hamas said the "massacre" in central Gaza represented Israel's "practical response" to ongoing International Court of Justice hearings into Israel's occupation of Palestine at the Hague. 

"It represents the occupying entity's practical response to the hearings against it in the International Court of Justice, and confirms to the international community that it is a rogue entity that does not care about human laws and values,' the Palestinian group said in a statement on Friday.

Hamas is proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the UK and the US but is not designated as such by the UN and most countries.

Elsewhere on Friday morning, an Israeli drone bombed a school run by Unrwa, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, near the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.

It came a day after Israel bombed another Unrwa building housing displaced people in the Jabalia refugee camp in the north. 

Israeli forces have killed at least 104 Palestinians and wounded 160 more over the past 24 hours in 10 "massacres", according to the Palestinian health ministry. 

That brought the Palestinian death toll in 137 days to more than 29,514, with over 69,616 people wounded and at least 7,000 missing, who are believed to be dead and buried under rubble. 

Over 70 percent of the victims are children and women, according to health officials.

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