The Jabaliya camp, the largest Palestinian refugee camp, was bombed twice in 24, Tuesday October 31 and Wednesday November 1. Located in the north of the Gaza Strip, near the Israeli border, north of the village of Jabaliya, it housed 160,000 refugees. Israel claimed responsibility for the first strike on the camp.
Heavy toll of victims, objective sought by Israel, international reactions... Le Figaro takes stock.
The Hamas government announced this Thursday, November 2, in the morning that the bombings on Tuesday and Wednesday on the largest refugee camp in the Gaza Strip left 195 people dead. “The victims of the first and second massacres in Jabaliya exceed a thousand between martyrs and wounded. We recorded 195 martyrs, 120 missing under the rubble and 777 injured,” the Hamas government press service said in a statement. If the number of victims cannot be immediately verified, the AFP images demonstrate the importance of the strikes and the multiple destructions. Many photos show bodies draped in shrouds lined up on the ground.
The military wing of Hamas also declared on Wednesday that seven hostages, including “three holders of foreign passports”, had been killed in this Israeli bombardment.
On Tuesday, October 31, Israel dropped six American-made bombs in the region, the director of civil defense in Gaza told Al Jazeera. AFP photos show large smoke craters in the middle of destroyed buildings and homes.
On Wednesday, November 1, a new strike on the Jabaliya camp caused “dozens of deaths” according to the Palestinian Islamist movement. The results cannot be immediately verified. According to AFP, rescuers claimed that “entire families” had been decimated.
According to IDF officials, Israel targeted between buildings on Tuesday to destroy a tunnel complex and the infrastructure of Hamas fighters. Israel particularly targeted Ibrahim Biari, one of the military leaders of the Islamist movement. Presented as one of those responsible for the October 7 attack, he was in “a vast complex of underground tunnels from where he directed operations,” said Jonathan Conricus, spokesman for the Israeli forces. According to the Jewish state, the Hamas member was killed during the bombing.
But the collapse of the tunnel network caused the foundations of neighboring buildings to collapse, causing their destruction in turn and a heavy human toll in the refugee camp. The attack left at least 50 dead and hundreds injured according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.
The Jewish state has not made an announcement about the second bombing, which it has not yet claimed responsibility for. AFP reports, however, that the Israeli army claimed to have “eliminated” the head of Hamas's anti-tank unit, Muhammad Atzar, in a strike on Wednesday, without specifying where he was killed.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Wednesday that these two bombings could be "war crimes": "given the high number of civilian casualties and the scale of the destruction caused by the airstrikes Israeli attacks on the Jabaliya refugee camp, we are very concerned that these are disproportionate attacks which could constitute war crimes.
Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, said: “Antonio Guterres is dismayed by the escalation of violence in Gaza, including the deaths of Palestinians, including women and children, in strikes. Israeli air force.
In a statement published Wednesday, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was “deeply concerned about the very heavy toll on the Palestinian civilian populations from the Israeli strikes against the Jabaliya camp and expresses its compassion for the victims.” He “recalls that the protection of civilian populations is an obligation of international law which is binding on everyone”.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry said on a large number of innocent civilians.” Qatar, involved in attempts to free hostages held by Hamas, condemned “a new massacre,” and warned of operations likely to “undermine mediation efforts.”
Bolivia severed relations with Israel. Chile, Colombia and Jordan recalled their ambassadors to Tel Aviv to protest. Argentina, which has the largest Jewish community in Latin America with 250,000 members, indicated that “nothing justifies the violation of international humanitarian law and the obligation to protect the civilian population.”