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Israeli forces kill at least 70 at Gaza refugee camp on Christmas Eve

Israeli strikes that began hours before midnight persisted into Christmas Day on Monday. Residents and Palestinian media said Israel stepped up air and ground shelling against al-Bureij in central Gaza.

At least 70 people were killed in an Israeli airstrike targeting Maghazi in central Gaza, health ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qidra said, adding that many were women and children.

The Israeli army said it was reviewing the report of a Maghazi incident and was committed to minimising harm to civilians. Hamas denies the Israeli charge that it operates in densely populated areas or uses civilians as human shields.

The Palestinian Red Crescent published footage of the wounded being transported to hospitals. It said Israeli warplanes were bombing main roads between central Gaza, hindering the passage of ambulances and emergency vehicles.

Medics said a separate Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis in southern Gaza killed eight Palestinians.

Al Jazeera has reported that Israel’s ongoing attacks continue to target the Gaza Strip, with a particular focus on areas near hospitals and the southern part of the besieged enclave, where ground operations are intensifying.

As of December 24, 2 am local time in Gaza (12:00 GMT), the most recent casualty figures indicate that 20,727 Palestinians have lost their lives in Gaza and the West Bank, including at least 8,276 children. Additionally, at least 57,975 Palestinians have sustained injuries, according to Al Jazeera.

In contrast, Israel has reported 1,139 fatalities since October 7, with 8,730 individuals injured, as per Al Jazeera’s information, citing the Israeli army. Notably, Israeli officials have revised the death toll from 1,405 to “around 1,200.”

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