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Deadly Gaza blaze was caused by party trick gone wrong, claims official

Palestinians carry the bodies of people who died when fire broke out in an apartment, in the Jabalia camp in the northern Gaza strip, on November 18, 2022. (Said Khatib/AFP)
Palestinians carry the bodies of people who died when fire broke out in an apartment, in the Jabalia camp in the northern Gaza strip, on November 18, 2022. (Said Khatib/AFP)

Investigators say last week’s massive apartment fire in the Gaza Strip was ignited accidentally by a man using gasoline in a party trick, but do not explain how they reached that conclusion.

The blaze killed 22 members of the same family and there were no survivors who could have described the events.

The fire erupted Thursday in the third-floor apartment of the Abu Raya family home in the crowded Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza. Officials initially said 21 people were killed.

Gaza attorney general Mohammed al-Nahal says the death toll reached 22, without elaborating.

He tells reporters that Nader Abu Raya invited his parents, siblings and their children to celebrate the return of his older brother from a trip abroad. 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, al-Nahal says.

“The cause of the blaze was Nader using gasoline in a celebratory show with fire during the party,” the Hamas-appointed attorney general says in a statement. “He lost control and the flame reached the gasoline container nearby and the fire erupted.”

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