on Saturday 8 June, 2024

Hamas says 210 killed, 400 wounded in Gaza’s al-Nuseirat where Israel rescued four hostages

Mourners react during the funeral of Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Deir Al-Balah, in central Gaza Strip on June 8, 2024. (Reuters)
by : Agencies

Hamas’s government media office said at least 210 people were killed on Saturday in Israeli attacks on a central Gaza camp from which four hostages were rescued.

“The number of victims from the Israeli occupation’s massacre in al-Nuseirat camp has risen to 210 martyrs and more than 400 wounded,” the office said in a statement.

Earlier on Saturday, an Israeli military spokesperson said the hostage rescue operation took place under fire in the heart of a residential neighborhood, where he said Hamas had been hiding captives among Gaza civilians under guard by armed militants.

Israeli forces returned fire, including with airstrikes, the spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, added. One Israeli special forces soldier was killed during the operation, a police statement said.

The four hostages were all kidnapped from the Nova music festival during Palestinian militant group Hamas’ deadly raid on Israeli towns and villages near Gaza on Oct. 7, an attack which precipitated the devastating war in the besieged Hamas-run enclave.

Hamas’s raid killed some 1,200 people, according to Israeli authorities, and Israel’s subsequent bombardment and invasion of Gaza has killed at least 36,801 Palestinians, according to an updated tally by the enclave’s health ministry on Saturday.

Palestinian militants took around 250 hostages back to Gaza on Oct. 7. There are 116 now left in Gaza, according to Israeli tallies, including at least 40 whom Israeli authorities have declared dead.

Israeli News 12 broadcast footage of Argamani reunited with her father, smiling and embracing him.

A different picture unfolded back in Gaza, where Palestinian health ministry officials and local medics said that an Israeli military assault in al-Nuseirat had killed scores of people including women and children. The ministry did not say how many of the fatalities were combatants.

Bloody scenes

Social media footage that Reuters could not immediately verify showed bodies spilling entrails onto bloodstained streets.

“It was like a horror movie but this was a real massacre. Israeli drones and warplanes fired all night randomly at people’s houses and at people who tried to flee the area,” said Ziad, 45, a paramedic and resident of al-Nuseirat, who gave only his first name.

The bombardment focused around a local marketplace and the Al-Awda mosque, he told Reuters via a messaging app.

“To free four people Israel killed dozens of innocent civilians,” he said.

Emergency response teams were trying to ferry the dead and wounded to hospital in the nearby city of Deir al-Balah but many bodies were still lying in the streets, including around a market district, Ziad and other residents said.

Al-Nuseirat, a historic Palestinian refugee camp, has been subjected to heavy Israeli bombing during the war and there has also been fierce ground fighting in its eastern areas.

The Gaza war shows no signs of slowing even as Israel’s chief ally the United States presses for a ceasefire and a deal that would free the remaining hostages held by Hamas in exchange for releases of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.

The war has destabilized the wider Middle East, drawing in Hamas’s main backer Iran and its heavily armed Lebanese ally Hezbollah, which Israeli officials are threatening to go to war with on Israel’s northern border.