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Israel Bombs Refugee Camp Again — This Time Under Telecommunications Blackout

This is the second major attack on Jabalia refugee camp in as many days.

Palestinians conduct a search and rescue operation after the second bombardment of the Israeli army in the last 24 hours at Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza City, Gaza on November 01, 2023. Dozens of people were reportedly killed and wounded.

Israeli forces carried out yet another assault on Gaza’s largest refugee camp on Wednesday, just hours after the Israeli military dropped six bombs on a residential area of the camp on Tuesday.

Al Jazeera reporters say that buildings in a heavily populated residential area of Jabalia refugee camp have been leveled and that hundreds of people are feared to be trapped under the wreckage. A limited number of photos that Palestinians have shared of the wreckage suggest that Wednesday’s blasts may have been comparably disastrous to the bombing on Tuesday, which officials at the local Indonesian Hospital have said killed 113 people and wounded more than 300.

There is currently little information flowing out of the camp due to yet another complete disruption of telecommunications across most of Gaza on Wednesday. The Palestinian Telecommunications Company says that internet and phone service are gradually being restored.

The death toll for Wednesday’s bombing is unknown. Israel’s bombing of Jabalia on Tuesday killed at least 50 people. Hamas has said that casualties from Tuesday’s bombing include seven civilian hostages.

Jabalia refugee camp has 116,011 registered Palestinian refugees, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). It was originally established for survivors of the 1948 Nakba.

The Israeli military took responsibility for the attack on Tuesday. A military representative shrugged off the civilian deaths in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, saying that they are merely a “tragedy of war.”

Targeting civilians is an international war crime. Israeli forces have claimed that they were aiming to kill a Hamas commander in the area. Hamas has strongly denied that claim, and a spokesperson said that Israel is attempting to cover up a “heinous crime against safe civilians, children, and women in Jabalya camp.”

One eyewitness, Mohammad Al Aswad, described the scene as “horrific” to CNN. “Children were carrying other injured children and running, with grey dust filling the air. Bodies were hanging on the rubble, many of them unrecognized. Some were bleeding and others were burnt,” Al Aswad said. “I saw women screaming and confused. They didn’t know whether to cry for losing their children or run and look for them, especially since many children were playing in the neighborhood.”

The UN has condemned the attacks on Jabalia. “This is just the latest atrocity to befall the people of Gaza where the fighting has entered an even more terrifying phase — with increasingly dreadful humanitarian consequences,” said Martin Griffiths, the UN’s humanitarian chief. The World Health Organization has called for Israel to stop the bombings.

U.S. Rep. Cori Bush (D-New York) said that Israel’s bombing of Jabalia on Tuesday is a war crime. “This is a war crime,” she said. “This unspeakable violence must end. The U.S. government cannot keep funding these atrocities. There must be a #CeasefireNOW.”

The Gazan health ministry has reported that Israeli forces have killed at least 8,796 Palestinians, including 3,648 children, since Israel began its current siege of Gaza. More than 20,000 Palestinians have been injured.Palestinians in West Bank called for a general strike on Wednesday to protest the genocide in Gaza. The Gazan health ministry has warned that several of the hospitals still operational in Gaza are just hours away from running out of fuel, putting the lives of hundreds of patients, including children, adults and newborn babies, at risk.