Gaza airstrike hits displaced during soccer match

July 11, 2024 7:23 am

[Source: Reuters]

An Israeli missile slammed into a tent encampment in southern Gaza on Tuesday just as displaced people had gathered there to watch a football match at a school, eyewitnesses said on Wednesday.

At least 29 people, mostly women and children, were killed in the strike, according to Palestinian officials, which took place as spectators crowded the school grounds in Abassan east of Khan Younis and hawkers sold smoothies and biscuits.

The Israeli military said it was reviewing reports that civilians were harmed. It said the incident occurred when it struck with a “precise munition” a Hamas fighter who took part in the Oct. 7 raid on Israel that triggered the war.

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The military did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether it knew that a football match was going on when the strike was ordered.

At the nearby Nasser Hospital, dozens of Palestinians bid farewell to loved ones before funerals and burials.

Israeli forces continued to press their offensive in north and central Gaza on Wednesday, and deepened their incursion into two Gaza City districts, carrying out house-to-house searches.

The militant group Hamas said the renewed Israeli campaign threatened to derail efforts to secure a ceasefire in the nine-month-old war, with talks to resume in Doha on Wednesday.

In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. Middle East envoy Brett McGurk he was committed to securing a Gaza ceasefire deal provided Israel’s red lines were respected, his office said.

Hamas has accepted a key part of a U.S. plan aimed at ending the nine-month-old war, dropping a demand that Israel first commit to a permanent ceasefire before signing the agreement.

Netanyahu has insisted the deal must not prevent Israel from resuming fighting until its war objectives are met. At the outset of the war, he pledged to annihilate Hamas.