Gaza Strip house fire kills 21, Palestinian officials say
A blaze started by gasoline stored in a residential building killed 21 people Thursday night at a refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, the territory’s Hamas leaders said, in one of the worst incidents murderers of recent years apart from the violence stemming from the Israeli-Palestinian war. conflict.
The fire broke out on the third floor of a three-storey building in the overcrowded Jabaliya camp, according to the Palestinian militant group Hamas. No one inside the house survived.
Gaza’s Civil Defense, run by Hamas, attributed the cause of the fire to gasoline that was stored in the building. It was not immediately clear how the gasoline ignited. Officials said an investigation is underway.
Flames were seen spitting through windows from the burning floor as hundreds of people gathered in the street, waiting for fire trucks and ambulances.
Gaza, ruled by Hamas and subject to a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade, faces a severe energy crisis. People often store cooking gas, diesel and gasoline in homes in preparation for winter. House fires have been caused by candles and gas leaks.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas offered his condolences to the families of the dead and declared Friday a day of mourning.
Tor Wennesland, the United Nations’ Middle East peace envoy, expressed “his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families, relatives and friends of those who died in the accident; the government and the Palestinian people.
Hussein Al-Sheikh, a senior Palestinian Authority official, called on Israel to open its border crossing with Gaza to allow the evacuation of injured people who need advanced medical care to Palestinian hospitals in the West Bank and Jerusalem. It was later confirmed that everyone in the house was dead.
COGAT, the Israeli body controlling the Erez crossing with the Gaza Strip, did not comment.
But Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz sent his condolences to the Palestinians, writing on Twitter that “we have offered our assistance in evacuating injured civilians to hospitals through COGAT. The State of Israel stands ready to provide vital medical aid to the people of Gaza.