10 Palestinians die, dozens injured after blaze breaks out in central Gaza

Hamas-run Interior Ministry says fire caused by gas leak inside bakery; PA premier orders authorities to ensure care provided to injured

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

A smoke-filled street in the Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza after a huge fire broke out on March 5, 2020. (Screenshot: Al-Aqsa TV)
A smoke-filled street in the Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza after a huge fire broke out on March 5, 2020. (Screenshot: Al-Aqsa TV)

Ten Palestinians were killed and dozens were injured on Thursday in a fire that broke out at a bakery in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

The deceased included six minors, two adult women and two adult men, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said.

An initial investigation found that a gas leak inside the bakery led to a fire breaking out, followed by an explosion of several gas containers, the Hamas-run Interior Ministry said. The blaze spread to nearby stores and facilities, it said.

A video broadcast by Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV showed a row of burned-out cars near the bakery on a smoke-filled street.

Nuseirat is densely populated and many stores and restaurants are located within close proximity of each other.

Firefighters in Gaza later extinguished the flames, Raed al-Dahshan, the director of operations in the Civil Defense in the coastal enclave said, according to Al-Aqsa TV.

The Health Ministry said at least 57 persons were injured, including 22 who were in intensive care at hospitals in Gaza.

Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani ordered Doha’s Gaza Reconstruction Committee to spend $2 million in “providing relief” to those harmed by the fire.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh posted on Facebook that the PA Health Ministry was ordered to ensure all injured persons receive the care they need.

Mohammed Awad, an official in the Hamas-run government in Gaza, told the Hamas-linked al-Rai that $2,000 would be paid out to each of the families of the deceased and $50 to all injured persons.

Meanwhile, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said that the terror group’s leadership would give $300 to each of the families of deceased and injured as well as those harmed in other ways by the blaze.

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