A fire that broke out during a birthday party in an apartment in Jabali quickly spread to a four-story building.
According to local sources, at least 21 people died and several others were injured as a result of a fire that broke out in a residential building in the densely populated Jabaliya refugee camp in the north of the Gaza Strip.
Ambulances took several wounded to local hospitals, and Israel, which along with Egypt has blockaded Gaza, said on Thursday it would allow those in need of medical assistance.
The Palestinian WAFA news agency reported that several children were among the dead.
Gaza’s Interior Ministry said that a preliminary investigation revealed that there was a large amount of gasoline stored in the area, which quickly engulfed the flames.
Firefighters needed more than an hour to control the large fire that engulfed the top floor of the four-story residential building. Witnesses said they heard screams, but were unable to help those inside due to the intensity of the fire.
Hamas, which governs Gaza, said an investigation was underway to determine the cause of the fire.
“This is a tragic event. Al Jazeera’s Youmna ElSayed, reporting from Gaza, said many of the victims have not yet been identified because they were badly burned.
He said that the fire was caused by candles lit at a birthday party. “When the candles were lit, there was a quick fire and an explosion,” he said.
Al Jazeera’s ElSayed said the city’s civil defense services are ill-equipped to deal effectively with such emergencies.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called it a national tragedy and said it would be a day of mourning.
Hussein al-Sheikh, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee, said in a statement that the Palestinian Authority called on Israel to open the Erez crossing with Gaza for the transport of serious cases to treat outside the besieged. enclave if necessary.
We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of 21 people after a fire broke out in Jabaliya refugee camp. #Gaza.
According to reports, among the dead are at least 8 children, 4 women and 1 retired UNRWA employee. Our deepest condolences to their families and community
— UNRWA (@UNRWA) November 17, 2022
Jabaliya is one of eight refugee camps in Gaza, home to 2.3 million people and one of the most densely populated areas in the world. The enclave has been under Israeli air, sea and land blockade since 2007.
“The President has issued instructions on the provision of all kinds of medical and other assistance urgently,” Al-Sheikh wrote on his Twitter page.
A spokesman for COGAT, the Israeli defense ministry unit that manages the Erez crossing, told AFP that Israel would “assist … if necessary” through the transit point.
UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees, said on its Twitter account that it was “deeply saddened by the tragic death of 21 people” in the fire and “expressed its deepest condolences to their families and the community.”
Tor Wennesland, the UN peace envoy for the Middle East, also expressed his “heartfelt condolences” to the families of those who died in the incident on Twitter.
Leave a Comment