22 People Die In Fire At A Party In Gaza

A fire broke out during a party in the northern Gaza Strip killing 22 people from the Abu Raya family, leaving no survivors and injuring several others.

After the initial investigation, it is believed that the fire was ignited accidentally by a man using gasoline in a party trick. Gaza’s attorney general Mohammed al-Nahal has said that Nader Abu Raya invited his parents, siblings, and their children to celebrate the return of his older brother from a trip abroad.

As the Times of Israel picks up, with all the guests together at the family home, Nader began preparing in the living room what was suggested to be a party trick involving gasoline.

The cause of the blaze was Nader using gasoline in a celebratory show with fire during the party,” Gaza’s attorney general Mohammed al-Nahal said in a statement. “He lost control, and the flame reached the gasoline container nearby and the fire erupted.”

It took firefighters more than an hour to gain control of the massive flames that burst through the top floor of a four-storey residential building in the densely populated Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.

Ambulances rushed several injured people to local hospitals, and Israel, which with Egypt maintains a blockade on Gaza, said it would allow in those in need of medical treatment.

Jabalia is one of eight refugee camps in Gaza, home to 2.3 million people and one of the world’s most densely populated areas, explains the Guardian.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared a national day of mourning in Gaza and the West Bank, calling the incident a “national catastrophe,” according to the PA’s official WAFA news agency.

Getting help under the Israeli blockade

Hussein al-Sheikh, secretary-general of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), said in a statement that the Palestinian Authority urged Israel to open the Erez crossing with Gaza to transport serious cases to treat them outside the enclave if necessary.

Since Hamas’s victory in the legislative elections in 2006, Israel imposed a full blockade of the Strip to, as they claim, maintain the security of its citizens and hold Hamas accountable for rocket attacks on them.

The blockade is also imposed by Egypt, so it has swiftly closed Gaza’s borders. Middle East Eye describes the three border crossing points out of Gaza as two controlled by Israel and one by Egypt, which has tacitly supported the siege. The movement of people out of the coastal enclave takes place at Israel’s Beit Hanoun crossing and at the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

Due to the 15-year-long Israeli blockade Gaza faces a severe energy crisis. People often store cooking gas, diesel, and gasoline in homes in preparation for winter and house fires have previously been caused by candles and gas leaks.

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