Gaza Hostage Raid Leaves Over 270 Killed, Including Three Hostages Claims Hamas


Israeli forces pounded central Gaza anew on Sunday, a day after killing 274 Palestinians during a hostage rescue raid, and tanks advanced further into Rafah in an apparent bid to seal off part of the southern city, residents and Hamas media said. Palestinians remained in shock over Saturday’s death toll, the worst over a 24-hour period of the Gaza war for months and including many women and children, Palestinian medics said.

In an update on Sunday, Gaza’s health ministry said 274 Palestinians were killed – up from 210 it reported on Saturday – and 698 were injured when Israeli special force commandos stormed into the densely populated Al-Nuseirat camp to rescue four hostages held since October by Hamas militants. Sixty-four of the dead were children and 57 were women, the Hamas-run Gaza government media office said on Sunday.

Israel’s military said a special forces officer was killed in exchanges of fire with militants emerging from cover in residential blocks, and that it knew of “under 100” Palestinians killed, though not how many of them were fighters or civilians.

Hamas’ armed wing said on Sunday three Israeli hostages, including one with U.S. citizenship, were killed during the raid, but provided no names. It released a video of what appeared to be corpses with censor bars obscuring their faces. This was rejected as “a blatant lie” by the Israeli military.

Gaza’s health ministry said another 798 Palestinians were injured in the Israeli raid, and one of them, 4-year-old Tawfiq Abu Youssef, was in critical condition when visited in hospital on Sunday by his father Raed.

The Israeli military said in a statement its forces were continuing operations east of Al-Bureij and Deir al-Balah, killing a number of Palestinian gunmen and destroying militant infrastructure. On Sunday, tanks advanced into two new districts in an apparent effort to complete the encirclement of the entire eastern side of Rafah, touching off clashes with dug-in Hamas-led armed groups, according to residents trapped in their homes.

Palestinian medics said an Israeli airstrike on a house in Tel Al-Sultan in western Rafah killed two people. The Israeli military said troops of its 162nd division were raiding some districts of Rafah for tunnels and weapon caches.

In central Gaza on Sunday, Israeli airstrikes on houses in the city of Deir Al-Balah and in the nearby Al-Bureij refugee camp killed three Palestinians in each location, while tanks shelled parts of Al-Nuseirat and Al-Maghazi camps, medics said.