REUTERS/Shadi Tabatibi
Israel World

Gaza mourns as Israel’s deadly airstrikes continue on Christmas Eve

As the world celebrated Christmas Eve, Gaza witnessed one of its bloodiest nights in the ongoing 11-week conflict with Israel. Palestinian health officials reported that at least 78 people, many of them women and children, lost their lives in Israeli airstrikes that targeted several areas in the besieged territory.

The attacks, which started late on Sunday, intensified on Monday morning as Israel unleashed its air and ground forces on al-Bureij, a densely populated refugee camp in central Gaza. Residents and local media said that dozens of homes and roads were destroyed by the relentless shelling.

Many people fled their homes in search of safety but found nowhere to go. Some of them appealed for help on social media, saying they had become homeless and desperate. “I have 60 people in the house, people who arrived at my house believing that central Gaza area was safe. Now we are searching for a place to get to,” Odeh, a resident of the refugee camps, wrote on Facebook.

Israel said it was investigating the incident in Maghazi, another refugee camp in central Gaza, where at least 70 people were killed in a single airstrike, according to Ashraf Al-Qidra, a spokesperson for the health ministry. Israel also claimed that it was trying to minimise civilian casualties and accused Hamas of using civilians as human shields and operating in crowded areas. Hamas denied the allegations and vowed to continue its resistance.


The Palestinian Red Crescent said that its ambulances and emergency vehicles were facing difficulties in reaching the wounded as Israeli warplanes bombed the main roads. It also shared videos of injured people being taken to hospitals. In Khan Younis, a city in southern Gaza, eight more Palestinians were killed by an Israeli strike, medics said.

Meanwhile, in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, the usual festive mood was replaced by sorrow and solidarity. The clergy cancelled the traditional celebrations and instead held a candle-lit vigil for peace in Gaza. Pope Francis, who led the Christmas Eve Mass in Rome, expressed his sadness over the situation in the Holy Land, where he said the message of peace was being ignored by the “futile logic of war”.

There was no large tree in Bethlehem’s Manger Square, the focal point of the Christmas events. Instead, the churches displayed nativity scenes with rubble and barbed wire, to show their support for the people of Gaza.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.