The Israeli military took responsibility for an airstrike that devastated a Gaza refugee camp on Tuesday.
Israel said it was targeting Hamas operatives, including a militant commander. Palestinian officials said hundreds were killed and injured.
An IDF spokesperson acknowledged the presence of civilians and said this was "the tragedy of war."
Israel's military launched an airstrike on Tuesday targeting Hamas operatives and bases that devastated a refugee camp in Gaza. The strike left mounds of rubble from shattered buildings and a cratered street and, according to Palestinian estimates, killed and injured hundreds.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claimed responsibility for the strike on the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza shortly after the strike, saying it was part of "a wide-scale strike" against Hamas operatives and infrastructure, including tunnels underneath buildings, in the area that "had taken control over civilian buildings in Gaza City."
"The strike damaged Hamas' command and control in the area, as well as its ability to direct military activity against IDF soldiers operating throughout the Gaza Strip," the IDF said to Insider in a statement. IDF officials said the attack was also targeting a specific Hamas commander, Ibrahim Biari, who they say was responsible for leading one of the Hamas groups in the surprise terror attacks against Israel on October 7 that killed some 1,400 people and injured thousands more, some of whom were subjected to torture.
While exact casualty figures from the Jabaliya center are unknown at this time, many civilians are believed to have been killed or wounded. Hamas-run medical facilities report hundreds killed and injured. Photographs from the aftermath show people trying to pull others from the rubble and adults carrying injured children.
In a conversation with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, the CNN anchor pressed an IDF spokesman on the presence of civilians at the moment of the attacks: "But you know that there are a lot of refugees, a lot of innocent civilians — men, women and children — in that refugee camp as well, right?"
"This the tragedy of war," Lt. Col. Richard Hecht replied, "I mean, we, as you know, have been saying for days, move south."
The IDF also told Insider that it reiterated "its call to the residents of the area to move south for their safety."
The strike on Gaza's largest refugee camp is part of a campaign of relentless Israeli airstrikes in the densely populated Gaza Strip, home to over 2 million people. The strikes began shortly after the October 7 attack and have since wrecked parts of the Gaza Strip, killing over 8,000 Palestinians and injuring over 16,000 more, according to numbers provided by the Hamas-led Gaza Health Ministry.
An Israeli ground offensive is also underway, with Israeli tanks advancing on Gaza City. Earlier on Tuesday, the IDF said it had hit "military compounds inside underground tunnels belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization," suggesting engagement with the underground network where more than 200 hostages from the October 7 attack are believed to be held by Hamas.
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