At least 21 people killed in strike at tent city in Al-Mawasi, Gaza officials say

Gaza officials said at least 21 people were killed and dozens injured Tuesday in an attack that hit a tent camp housing displaced people in Al-Mawasi, a coastal area in southern Gaza where Israel has designated a safe zone since humanitarian point of view.

The Israeli army immediately denied carrying out attacks inside the area. Videos verified by the Times show several people dead and injured in an agricultural area of ​​Al-Mawasi, where civilians had taken refuge near the area.

Dr Mohammed Al Moghayer, a senior official with the Palestinian Civil Defense emergency relief organisation, said most of the dead and wounded were taken to nearby field hospitals and others to Nasser Hospital in the city of Khan Younis. Dr Moghayer and the Gaza Ministry of Health said that in addition to those killed, 64 people were injured, 10 of them very seriously.

It was not immediately clear what kind of weapons or projectiles had fallen into the camp, or whether they had been fired from the ground or dropped from aircraft.

The news comes just two days after dozens of people were killed in a fire that devastated a camp for Palestinian displaced people in Rafah after an Israeli airstrike, sparking international condemnation. The Israeli military said the target of Sunday's attack in Rafah was a Hamas compound and that “precise munitions” had been used to hit a commander and another senior militant official there.

Israeli troops are pushing further into Rafah. The United Nations said a million people have fled the southern city in the past three weeks, once a major hub for displaced people forced to flee other parts of the enclave because of the fighting.

Israel has on previous occasions designated parts of Al-Mawasi as a “humanitarian zone”, but the area's population has grown enormously in recent weeks as hundreds of thousands of people have heeded Israeli warnings to leave the city of Rafah, where troops Israelis have moved forward in recent weeks. Displaced people have said Al-Mawasi lacks food and basic services, and the United Nations has warned of dire conditions.

Johnatan Reiss, Arijeta Lajka AND Christian Triebert contributed to the reporting.

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