Fire in Gaza: 21 dead, including 10 children, in Jabalia camp
Palestinian medical sources told the BBC that at least 21 people, including 10 children, were killed in a fire that broke out in a residential building in the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.
Salah Abu Laila, director of emergency services at the Indonesian hospital in northern Gaza, said the death toll at the camp is likely to increase after the fire, which is now under control.
A local security officer told the BBC initial investigations had revealed a gas leak from a kitchen.
The Jabalia camp is one of eight camps in Gaza.
Abu Laila described the fire as “massive,” and videos on social media showed the entire building ablaze.
A local resident who rushed to the scene said there was a supply of gasoline inside the building to “run an electric generator.”
An eyewitness told the BBC: “It’s very difficult, children and women on fire without being able to save them.”
A security official said a family was celebrating the return of a relative from abroad.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas described the incident as a national tragedy and declared mourning on Friday.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Twitter that his staff would help with “humanitarian evacuations of the wounded to (Israeli) hospitals.”
Deadly fires, often caused by candles, are common in Gaza due to severe power shortages linked to the blockade of Gaza and internal Palestinian political strife.
Gaza is home to 2.3 million people, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, and the United Nations says about 600,000 refugees live in Gaza in eight overcrowded camps.
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