Palestinian news agency WAFA (Wikalat al-Anba al-Filastinija) reported that the Israeli military attacked a refugee camp in Gaza on Saturday, killing 51 people, mostly women and children, after calls for a ceasefire from the Arab world were rejected by the United states and Israel, Reuters reported.
As the death toll in Gaza mounted, pro-Palestinian demonstrators staged protests in many cities around the world on Saturday, calling for an end to the nearly month-long war.
WAFA reported that the Mahazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip was hit by an Israeli bombardment on Saturday night.
Reuters said it could not independently verify WAFA’s announcement. The Israeli army has not yet responded to a request for comment. Israel claims it has targeted Hamas, not civilians, and that the armed groups are using residents as human shields.
A spokesman for the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, Ashraf al-Kidra, said many people were killed and wounded in the attack, without giving an exact number.
Gaza health authorities said on Saturday that more than 9,488 Palestinians had been killed since the start of the war, which began after Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on southern Israel on October 7, killing 1,400 people and taking more than 240 hostages.
Foreign ministers from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates met US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in Amman on Saturday and urged Washington to persuade Israel to agree to a ceasefire.
“This war will just cause more pain for the Palestinians, for the Israelis, and it will push us all back into the abyss of hatred and dehumanization,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told a news conference with Blinken. — “So this has to stop.”
But the top US diplomat rejected the idea of a ceasefire, saying it would only benefit Hamas, allowing the Islamist Palestinian group to regroup and attack again.
Washington has proposed localized pauses in the fighting to allow humanitarian aid and people to leave densely populated Gaza.
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators staged protests on Saturday in cities including London, Berlin, Paris, Istanbul, Jakarta and Washington, demanding a ceasefire.
Tens of thousands gathered in Washington to denounce President Joe Biden’s war policies and demand a ceasefire. Some carried placards reading “Palestinian lives matter”, “Long live Gaza” and “Their blood is on your hands”.
In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told tens of thousands gathered in Jakarta on Sunday that the government was reaffirming its support for the Palestinian people’s struggle and would send a second shipment of aid.