Israel Admits Striking Refugee Camp—Says It Targeted And Killed Hamas Commander

Published 1 month ago
By Forbes | Molly Bohannon
Israeli attack on residential square in Jabalia refugee camp
A view from the area after Israeli airstrikes on Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, on October 31, 2023. Palestinians, including children killed in a series of Israeli airstrikes on Jabalia refugee camp, Interior Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday. Israeli attacks continue on the 25th day in Gaza. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu via Getty Images)


The Israel Defense Forces admitted to striking the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza—an attack that Hamas said killed dozens and injured hundreds—and said it killed a senior Hamas commander in the attack.


A spokesperson for Israel said the IDF killed a Hamas commander who oversaw fighting in northern Gaza, and that Israeli forces killed around 50 Hamas fighters and damaged a Hamas command center.

Hamas has denied that any leadership was at the refugee camp at the time of the attack, NBC News reported.


The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza told Al Jazeera that more than 50 people were killed and many others were hurt in the strike, and the director of Gaza’s Indonesian hospital, Dr. Atef al-Kahlout, told CNN that “hundreds” of people came in dead or injured and said there were still people in the rubble.

Photos of the aftermath of the attack show massive holes in the ground, and eyewitnesses said there were “body parts all over the place,” CNN reported.

The Jabalia refugee camp, the area hit by the Israeli strike, is the largest of the eight refugee camps in Gaza and has held refugees since the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.


116,011. That’s how many Palestinian refugees were registered with the United Nations and living in the camp, though the total population of the camp was likely higher. Many refugees in the camp were living in “substandard conditions,” according to the UN, which said the camp is characterized by “overcrowding and a lack of living space.”


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A statement posted to the X, formerly known as Twitter, account of the Gaza Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said it “strongly condemns the recent massacre committed by the occupation against our people in the #Jabalia camp just a while ago. This resulted in the destruction of an entire densely populated residential area, over their heads.” The post estimated that 400 people were killed or wounded.


The strike came as Israel is facing calls for a ceasefire to allow for humanitarian aid, though Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said there won’t be a ceasefire. He has said calls for a ceasefire are calls “to surrender to terrorism,” according to the New York Times, and has continued to vow to destroy Hamas. Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner general of the UN Relief and Works Agency, said Monday that “an immediate humanitarian ceasefire has become a matter of life and death for millions,” CNN reported. Since the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, the Hamas-run Healthy Ministry in Gaza estimates that more than 8,000 Palestinians have been killed, adding that most have been children or minors. The Israeli death toll is around 1,400, almost entirely from the initial attack, while hundreds of hostages were taken from Israel to the Gaza Strip, the Associated Press reported.