Israeli airstrike kills 76 members of one Gaza family, rescue officials say

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According to a report this week by the United Nations and other agencies, more than half a million people in Gaza – a quarter of the population – are dying of hunger.

ANNOUNCEMENT

An Israeli airstrike killed 76 members of an extended family, relief officials said Saturday, a day after the United Nations chief warned again that nowhere is safe in Gaza and that the ongoing offensive by Israel is creating “massive obstacles” to the distribution of humanitarian aid.

Friday’s attack on a building in Gaza City was among the bloodiest in the war between Israel and Hamas, now in its 12th week, said Mahmoud Bassal, spokesman for Gaza’s Civil Defense.

He provided a partial list of the names of those killed – 16 heads of families from the al-Mughrabi family – and said the dead included women and children.

Among the dead were Issam al-Mughrabi, a United Nations Development Program veteran, his wife and their five children.

“The loss of Issam and his family has deeply affected all of us. The United Nations and civilians in Gaza are not a target,” said Achim Steiner, head of the agency. “This war must end.”

Israel declared war after Hamas militants stormed across the border on October 7, killing around 1,200 people and taking around 240 hostages. Israel has vowed to continue the fight until Hamas is destroyed and removed from power in Gaza and all hostages are freed.

According to health officials in Gaza, a besieged territory ruled by the Islamic militant group for the past 16 years, more than 20,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s war to destroy Hamas and more than 53,000 have been injured.

Israel blames Hamas for the high number of civilian casualties, citing the group’s use of crowded residential areas for military purposes and its tunnels under urban areas. He has unleashed thousands of airstrikes since Oct. 7 and has largely refrained from commenting on specific attacks, including discussing the intended target.

Israel’s air and ground offensive was one of the most devastating military campaigns in recent history, displacing nearly 85% of Gaza’s 2.3 million people and leveling large areas of the small coastal enclave.

According to a report this week by the United Nations and other agencies, more than half a million people in Gaza – a quarter of the population – are dying of hunger.

The IDF shifts its attention south

So far, Israel has resisted international pressure to downsize. Military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said late Friday that forces were expanding the ground offensive “to other areas of the Strip, with particular attention to the south.”

He said operations also continue in the northern half of Gaza, including Gaza City, the initial center of Israel’s ground offensive. The army said it carried out airstrikes against Hamas fighters in several locations in Gaza city.

The army also said Saturday it had transferred more than 700 suspected militants from Gaza to Israel for further interrogation, including more than 200 in the past week, providing rare details on a controversial policy involving mass roundups of Palestinian men.

Palestinians have reported such sweeps in areas of northern Gaza where ground troops have control, saying they typically involve troops searching all teenage boys and men found in a location.

Some of the released detainees said they were stripped to their underwear, beaten and held for days with minimal water. The army denied allegations of abuses and said those with no links to the militants were quickly released.

Israel says it has killed thousands of Hamas militants, including around 2,000 in the past three weeks, but has presented no evidence to support that claim. 139 of its soldiers are said to have been killed in the ground offensive.

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