GAZA ( Associated Press) — At least 21 people were killed in a fire Thursday in the northern Gaza Strip, the Hamas group that rules the territory said, in one of the deadliest incidents of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in recent years. since a.
Hamas said the fire broke out on the third floor of a three-story building in the overcrowded Jabaliya refugee camp.
The Gaza Civil Defense, which is operated by Hamas, blamed gasoline containers placed in the building for the fire. It is not yet known how the fire started.
The authorities announced the launch of the investigation.
Flames could be seen pouring from the windows of the building, in front of which a crowd of hundreds waited for fire engines and ambulances to arrive.
Gaza, which is under heavy blockade by Israel and Egypt, is facing a severe energy crisis. People often store cooking gas, diesel and gasoline at homes in preparation for winter. In the past, some house fires were reported due to candles or gas leakage.
Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian National Authority, expressed his condolences to the families of those killed and declared Friday a day of mourning.
Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior Palestinian National Authority official, asked Israel to open its border crossing with Gaza to allow the evacuation of the wounded who need urgent care to Palestinian hospitals in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
COGAT, the Israeli body that controls the Erez crossing with the Gaza Strip, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.