Photographs taken on Tuesday showed at least one large crater and significant damage to buildings at the Jabaliya neighborhood in northern Gaza, home of a long-established refugee camp.
The Gazan health ministry, which is controlled by Hamas, said the damage was the result of an attack by Israel that killed and wounded “hundreds” of people, a statement that could not be immediately verified. A spokesman for Israel’s military said it was looking into the reports.
Dr. Marwan Sultan, medical director of the Indonesian Hospital, which is near Jabaliya, said that his facility was receiving hundreds of injured people, and that dozens more were dead.
Photos by news agencies Tuesday afternoon showed civilian rescuers picking through the rubble of shattered buildings, some of which were three or four stories, and civilians carrying casualties.
Scores of people stood around a crater, which was several yards deep and contained large shards of concrete. It was not immediately clear from the pictures what had caused the crater, or exactly when it had been created. Other craters were visible in the background.
There was no crater in the area of the explosion on Monday, according to a satellite image of the camp by the private company Planet Labs.
A later photograph published by Reuters showed a Red Crescent ambulance on a street and more than 30 white sheets wrapped around what appeared to be bodies laid on the ground.
Jabaliya is the largest of the Gaza Strip’s eight refugee camps and is populated by people who were displaced from what is now Israel in the 1940s and their descendants. While it is called a camp, the area is in fact built up and densely populated, rather than a tent city. The camp covers an area of 1.4 square kilometers and is just to the north of Gaza City, the largest urban settlement in Gaza.
The United Nations says that as of this year, there were more than 116,000 people registered at the camp with UNRWA, the U.N. agency that aids Palestinians, though it was unclear how many have left in recent weeks.
On Friday, Israel began an invasion of Gaza, in retaliation for the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas, in which 1,400 people were killed. Israeli forces have been advancing toward Gaza City from both the north and the east amid a barrage of airstrikes that have caused widespread casualties.
Israel’s military has repeatedly warned civilians to leave northern Gaza and head to the south of the enclave. But it has also conducted bombings in the south.
More than 8,500 people have been killed as Israel has carried out its campaign of retaliatory airstrikes, including more than 3,500 children, according to the Gazan Health Ministry.
Aaron Boxerman, Lauren Leatherby and Hiba Yazbek contributed reporting.