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An Israeli airstrike kills 19 members of the same family in a southern Gaza refugee camp
Nasser Abu Quta lost 19 members of his family in an instant when an Israeli airstrike blew up his home in a crowded refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — The evacuation warning came shortly after dark. The Israeli military fired the shot just a short distance from Nasser Abu Quta’s home in the southern Gaza Strip, a precautionary measure meant to allow people to evacuate before airstrikes.
Abu Quta, 57, thought he and his extended family would be safe some hundred meters (yards) away from the house that was alerted to the pending strike. He huddled with his relatives on the ground floor of his four-story building, bracing for an impact in the area.
But the house of Abu Quta’s neighbor was never hit. In an instant, an explosion ripped through his own home, wiping out 19 members of his family, including his wife and cousins, he said. The airstrike also killed five of his neighbors who were standing outside in the jam-packed refugee camp, a jumble of buildings and alleyways.
The airstrike in Rafah, a southern town on the border with Egypt, came as Israeli forces intensified their bombardment of targets in the Gaza Strip following a big, multi-front attack by Hamas militants Saturday that had killed over 700 people in Israel by Sunday night. Hamas also took dozens of Israelis hostage and fired thousands of rockets toward Israeli population centers, although most were intercepted by the country's Iron Dome defense system.