April 20, 2024

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The war between Israel and Hamas, and the number of Palestinian deaths in Gaza, calls for a ceasefire

The war between Israel and Hamas, and the number of Palestinian deaths in Gaza, calls for a ceasefire

People inspect the rubble of a collapsed building in Maghazi, Gaza, on November 5. Muhammad Zanoun/Middle East Pictures/AFP/Getty Images

More than a day and a half after the explosion in Gaza’s crowded refugee camp, which the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry said killed dozens, the Israeli military said it was still unable to determine whether the Israeli raid was responsible for the attack.

Asked by CNN’s Rosemary Church about whether there was an airstrike, IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said Monday: “I cannot confirm that at this point.”

The explosion occurred around 10pm local time (4pET) on Saturday. CNN repeatedly asked the Israeli army whether it had struck the refugee camp, and provided it with coordinates and timing, but the Israeli army has not yet responded.

“Regarding the strike, we are conducting activities in southern Gaza,” Lerner said. He said that the Israeli army “cannot at this time share the details of this incident, but it is actually very heartbreaking, the pictures that we see.”

He clarified that he did not confirm that an Israeli air strike had occurred, and stressed: “We will make unremitting efforts to reduce civilian casualties in this war.”

Gaza health officials say 47 people were killed in the explosion, which they blame on Israeli bombing.

Some context: The Israeli military says it is hitting an average of more than 400 targets in Gaza every day, following the October 7 Hamas terror attack that killed about 1,400 people in Israel and took about 240 hostage.

More than 9,700 people have been killed in Israeli raids on Gaza since October 7, according to the Palestinian Minister of Health in Ramallah, Dr. Mai Alkaila. This data is taken from medical sources in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Al-Kaila said that children constituted 4,800 of the dead.

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CNN’s Karim Khader and Iyad Kurdi contributed to this report.