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Gaza officials say Israeli fire struck a crowd waiting for aid, killing at least 20

At least 20 people were killed and 150 wounded on Thursday after a crowd of people waiting for humanitarian aid at a roundabout in Gaza City was struck by Israeli fire, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

The Israeli military says it was looking into the reports.

Meanwhile, at least five people were killed when a strike hit a mosque in the southern Gaza city of Rafah on Wednesday. The dead and the injured were taken to nearby Abu Youssef Al-Najjar hospital.

Footage captured by reporters showed the extent of the destruction, with buildings partially demolished or completely flattened.

Other video showed the chaotic aftermath in the hospital - among those present was Mohammad Lafy, who survived the mosque strike.

"We were sitting in the house, they hit the mosque directly next to the house without warning," he said.

Israeli fire has killed more than 25,700 Palestinians in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry. And 63,740 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since 7 October.

Deadly Israeli strike hit displaced people shelter

Fierce battles are tearing through the Gaza Strip’s second-largest city, Khan Younis, where United Nations officials say tank rounds hit a UN facility sheltering displaced Palestinians.

The death toll from the strike at the crowded shelter has risen to 12, with over 75 wounded, according to Thomas White, a senior official with the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees, known as UNRWA.

The agency did not directly blame Israel, which is the only party to the conflict that has tanks. The Israeli military said it has “currently ruled out” that the strike was carried out by its aircraft or artillery but was still investigating. It says the building might have been hit by a Hamas rocket.

Countries and international agencies have denounced the attack.

The fighting in the southern Gazan town has isolated its two main hospitals, stranding hundreds of patients and thousands of displaced people inside. A third hospital was evacuated overnight, White said. Thousands of people rushed to escape farther south in recent days, crowding into shelters and tent camps near the border with Egypt.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) reports that Israeli forces have imposed a “complete curfew” around the El Amal Hospital.

Palestinians carry a a body of a person killed in the Israeli bombardment at a building of an UNRWA vocational training center which displaced people use as a shelter.
Palestinians carry a a body of a person killed in the Israeli bombardment at a building of an UNRWA vocational training center which displaced people use as a shelter. - Ramez Habboub/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.

UN court to issue South Africa genocide request

The United Nations’ top court will issue a decision Friday on South Africa’s request for interim orders in a genocide case against Israel, including that Israel halt its offensive in Gaza.

The decision is a preliminary stage of a case filed by South Africa at the International Court of Justice alleging that Israel’s military action in its war with Hamas in Gaza amounts to genocide.

Israel strongly rejects the accusation and has asked the court to throw out the case.

The court in The Hague, Netherlands, announced the timing of the interim ruling on Wednesday. South Africa’s Foreign Ministry said Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor would travel to The Hague to represent the country at Friday’s ruling.

Protests for hostage release continue amid talks

Protesters demonstrating for the release of the hostages from Gaza have blocked traffic on the Ayalon highway, a central highway in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

According to Israeli media, the protest came as Qatar has communicated to Israel that Hamas is temporarily delaying all further talks about an outline for a hostage deal.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday, 24 January said that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) members are very serious about launching talks on the Israeli-Palestinian settlement that involves the establishment of a Palestinian state.

sraeli police officers disperse demonstrators blocking a highway during a protest demanding the immediate release of the Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas.
sraeli police officers disperse demonstrators blocking a highway during a protest demanding the immediate release of the Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas. - Ohad Zwigenberg/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.