Palestinian children wait to receive food during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem.

Five dead, 22 injured after Israel strike UN food distribution centre in southern Gaza

"Today’s attack on one of the very few remaining UNRWA distribution centres in the Gaza Strip comes as food supplies are running out”

Nidal al-Mughrabi, Bassam and Masoud |

Israel said on Wednesday that its airstrike on a UN food distribution centre in southern Gaza killed a Hamas commander who had been targeted but Palestinian health officials said it also killed four more people including a UN worker.

The Israeli military said the strike killed Mohammad Abu Hasna, whom it described as a Hamas militant who provided intelligence to the group on Israeli troops’ positions and was “also involved in taking control of humanitarian aid and distributing it to Hamas terrorists.”

The name Mohammad Abdel-Halim Abu Hasna appears on the list of five fatalities from the strike, provided by Gaza health officials.

There was no immediate confirmation from Hamas that he was a member of the group now battling against Israeli forces in Gaza.

Earlier, the main UN agency for Palestinians (UNRWA) said one of its facilities had been hit in Rafah, an area in southern Gaza where more than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million population is sheltering.

At least one UNRWA staff member was among the five killed and 22 others were injured, the agency said and the facility’s coordinates had been shared with the Israeli military.

“Today’s attack on one of the very few remaining UNRWA distribution centres in the Gaza Strip comes as food supplies are running out, hunger is widespread and, in some areas, turning into famine,” said UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini.

Hamas has denied Israel’s accusations and says Israel is using famine to pressure the Palestinian population.

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