According to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza, at least 21 people, including entire families and children, were killed on Thursday when a fire broke out in a residential building in a refugee camp in northern Gaza.
The fire broke out in the Jabaliya refugee camp, the Gaza Interior Ministry said. A preliminary investigation found a large amount of gasoline inside the building, which contributed to the escalation of the fire, it added.
Everyone in the building was killed, said ministry spokesman Iyad Al-Bazm.
Entire families were among the dead, according to local media reports, which listed among the victims a doctor, a local government official and a pharmacist, along with their wives and children.
Hussein Al-Sheikh, the general secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), called on Israel to open the Erez Crossing to allow the wounded to be transported to hospitals outside the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz said it would be right if Israel saved lives, but it appears there were no wounded survivors to transport.
Israel controls the Erez Crossing, one of the few checkpoints that allow movement between Israel and Gaza.
Police forces, civil defense and forensic teams are still investigating the incident, Gaza’s interior ministry said.
Many families living in Gaza stockpile gasoline and diesel to power generators as the area only gets electricity eight hours a day as there is only one power station.
Hamas, the militant movement that governs the Gaza Strip, expressed its sadness at the deaths and called on the Palestinian people to attend the funerals of the victims on Friday.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared a day of mourning for the victims.