Gaza fire: At least 21 dead after fire in residential building, Interior Ministry says


At least 21 people, including entire families and children, died Thursday in a fire in a residential building in a refugee camp in northern Gaza, according to Palestinian authorities in Gaza.

The fire broke out in the Jabaliya refugee camp, Gaza’s interior ministry said. A preliminary investigation found a large amount of gasoline inside the building, which contributed to the fire’s escalation, he added.

Everyone in the building was killed, ministry spokesman Iyad Al-Bazm said.

The dead included entire families, local media said, including a doctor, a local government official and a pharmacist, and their wives and children among the victims.

Hussein AlSheikh, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee, called on Israel to open the Erez crossing to allow the wounded to be transported to hospitals outside Gaza.

Palestinian firefighters put out flames in a fire-ravaged building in the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza on November 17.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said it would be right for Israel to do so to save human lives, but there appear to be 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 protection and forensic teams are still investigating the incident, Gaza’s interior ministry said.

Many families living in Gaza stockpile petrol and diesel to power generators, as the territory only has electricity for eight hours a day as it only has one power plant.

Hamas, the militant movement that runs Gaza, expressed grief over 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.

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