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Israel kills dozens of Palestinians in two 'massacres' in Gaza

Attacks targeted the Shati refugee camp and the Tuffah neighbourhood of Gaza City
A Palestinian stands at the site of Israeli strikes on houses at Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, 22 June 2024 (Reuters/Ayman Al Hassi)

At least 43 people have been killed in two Israeli attacks on Gaza on Saturday.

The attacks targeted Shati refugee camp and the Tuffah neighbourhood of Gaza City, the head of the Government Media Office told Al Jazeera.

He said 24 people were killed in seven homes in Shati. Gaza's civil defence said they had recovered 19 bodies from Tuffah.

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Hamas released a statement saying Israel "continues its brutal targeting of defenceless civilians in Gaza and carries out new massacres in the Shati Camp, Mawasi and Rafah".

The group called on the international community to take "more effective action" to stop Israel from committing such acts.

"The occupation and its Nazi leaders will pay the price for their violations against our Palestinian people, and these crimes will not break the will [of the Palestinians]," said the statement.

Gaza's health ministry said that 101 Palestinians were killed in Israeli attacks in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 37,551 people killed in the enclave since 7 October.

Additionally, 85,911 people have been wounded since the war began.

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza caused by Israel's bombardment and siege is likely to worsen due to scorching heat, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Friday. 

"We've seen massive displacement over the last weeks and months, and we know that combination and the heat can cause a rise in diseases," said Richard Peeperkorn of the WHO.

"We have water contamination because of hot water, and we will have much more food spoilage because of the high temperature. We will get insect mosquitoes and flies, dehydration, heat stroke."

The WHO has called for the reopening of the Rafah crossing in the south, seized by Israel in early May and subsequently destroyed, to facilitate aid and medical evacuations for 10,000 wounded people needing treatment abroad.

As the civilian death toll and humanitarian conditions, particularly the growing hunger crisis in northern Gaza, continues to worsen, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied deliberately targeting civilians or imposing a starvation policy.

In an interview with conservative US outlet Punchbowl News, Netanyahu labelled the accusations as "blood libel against the Jewish people". 

"These are two of these slanders that are levelled at the Jewish state, much as they said that we are killing Christian children to bake Matzos in the Middle Ages or that we're spreading vermin to poison the entire populations," he said. 

Human rights groups and UN experts have accused Israel of collective punishment against Palestinians since the Hamas-led attack on 7 October, including the use of starvation as a weapon of war.

The director of northern Gaza's Kamal Adwan Hospital said on Saturday that four children had died of malnutrition in a single week in his hospital.

"We lost a child in the nursery department of the hospital during the past few hours. He is the fourth child to die in the hospital in the last week due to malnutrition," he said in a news conference.

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