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Fire in Gaza: At least 21 dead after fire breaks out in residential building, interior ministry says

Gaza strip

At least 21 people, including entire families and children, were killed on Thursday when a fire broke out in a residential building in a refugee camp in northern Gaza, according to Palestinian authorities in Gaza.

According to the Gaza Interior Ministry, a fire broke out in the Jabaliya refugee camp. A preliminary investigation found a large amount of gasoline in the building, contributing to the escalation of the fire, it added.

Everyone in the building was killed, ministry spokesman Iyad Al-Bazm said.

Whole families were among the dead, local media reports said, with the victims naming a doctor, a local government official and a pharmacist, as well as their wives and children.

Hussein AlSheikh, the secretary general of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), called on Israel to open the Erez crossing to allow the injured to be transported to hospitals outside Gaza.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said it would be good for Israel to do this to save lives, but it appears there are no injured survivors to transport.

Israel controls the Erez crossing, one of the few checkpoints that allow movement between Israel and Gaza.

Police forces, civil defense and forensic teams are still investigating the incident, Gaza’s interior ministry said.

Many families living in Gaza store gasoline and diesel to power generators, as the area only has electricity for eight hours a day, as it only has one power station.

Hamas, the militant movement that controls Gaza, expressed its grief over the deaths and called on the Palestinian people to participate in the funerals of the victims on Friday.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has declared a day of mourning for the victims.

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