Journalists injured in Gaza hospital airstrike

3 weeks ago 27

Palestinians inspect destroyed shelter tents following an Israeli air strike near al-Aqsa hospitalImage source, EPA

Image caption,

Journalists are among hundreds sheltering in makeshift tents in the grounds of the hospital

Seven journalists have been injured in an Israeli airstrike in the courtyard of a hospital in central Gaza.

Four members of the Islamic Jihad (IJ) militant group were killed in the airstrike in the grounds of the al-Aqsa Hospital, the BBC understands.

The Israeli military said it struck an IJ command centre in the hospital courtyard in Deir al-Balah.

Hamas and medical staff deny Israeli accusations that militants use hospitals as bases.

Islamic Jihad, an ally of Hamas, has not commented.

The journalists were among hundreds who are sheltering in makeshift tents in the grounds of the hospital.

One of those injured was a freelancer working for the BBC.

"They hit the tent without any warning, we were staying in the tent as a group of journalists peacefully with no terrorists among us," Ali Hamad, a photographer, told Reuters news agency.

"We were preparing our cameras and all of a sudden the tent was hit, everything went dark with debris and rocks flying above our heads and there were flames."

The Israeli military said "the command centre and terrorists were struck precisely, intended on minimising harm to uninvolved civilians in the area of the hospital".

Israeli strikes killed 77 people in Gaza in the past 24 hours, the Hamas-run health ministry said on Sunday.

It reported that nine more people died in an Israeli strike in Bani Suhaila near the city of Khan Younis.

The war in Gaza began after Hamas's unprecedented attack in southern Israel during which about 1,200 people were killed and some 253 taken hostage. Of those taken, about 130 remain unaccounted for, at least 34 of whom are presumed dead.

Israel launched its retaliatory operation, saying it was aimed at destroying Hamas. Since then, 32,782 Palestinians have been killed and 75,298 injured, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. Earlier this month, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said that, of those killed, more than 25,000 were women and children.

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