At least 21 people, including an entire family and children, were killed when a fire broke out in a residential building in a refugee camp in northern Gaza on Thursday, the Palestinian Authority in Gaza said.
A fire broke out in the Jabaliya refugee camp, according to Gaza’s interior ministry. A preliminary investigation found a large amount of gasoline inside the building, which contributed to the spread of the fire, he added.
Everyone in the building was killed, ministry spokesman Iyad Al-Bazm said.
The dead included entire families, according to local media, with a doctor, a local official and a pharmacist, along with their wives and children among the victims.
Hussein AlSheikh, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), called on Israel to open the Erez Pass to allow the wounded to be transported to hospitals outside Gaza.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said it was the right thing for Israel to do to save lives, but it appears no wounded survived to be evacuated.
Israel controls the Erez crossing, one of the few checkpoints that allow movement between Israel and Gaza.
Police, civil defense and forensics forces are still investigating the incident, Gaza’s interior ministry said.
Many families living in Gaza collect petrol and diesel for generators as there is only eight hours of electricity a day as it has only one power station.
Hamas, the militant group that rules 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.