Gaza, Dec 25 (UNI)- At least 70 Palestinians were killed on Sunday in an Israeli airstrike on the al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, reported the state-run Palestine TV.

Ashraf Al-Qedra, spokesman for the Gaza-based Health Ministry, said in a statement that the death toll is likely to rise as the airstrike hit a crowded residential area. He added that Israeli forces are bombing the central region’s main roads between camps, which obstructs ambulances and civil vehicles from reaching targeted locations.

Local sources told Xinhua that most of the killed were women and children, and it is currently difficult for local hospitals to receive more injured people.

The sources added that in addition to the al-Maghazi refugee camp, the Israeli army also attacked central Gaza’s al-Bureij refugee camp and the southern city of Khan Younis.

“Intense airstrikes by the military occupation have led to the closure of main roads between the camps of Al-Bureij, Al-Maghazi, and Al-Nuseirat, hindering the work of ambulances and rescue teams,” the Palestine Red Crescent Society said at midnight Sunday local time on X, formerly Twitter.

Israel’s military spokesperson’s office said it was looking into reports of the attack. Al-Maghazi was one of the places the Israeli military had previously told the Palestinians in Gaza to evacuate to, yet the camp has been “completely flattened,” according to Al Jazeera.

Al-Maghazi was bombarded by Israel last month, when 51 Palestinians, mostly women and children, were killed and scores wounded, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA.

The UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) reported that on the afternoon of Oct. 17, one of its schools in Al-Maghazi, sheltering some 4,000 displaced people, was hit. As a result, eight people were killed and 40 injured, including three UNRWA staff.

Al-Maghazi, one of the smallest Gaza refugee camps, is characterized by narrow alleys and a high population density, housing nearly 30,000 people in 0.6 square km, said the UN agency.

The latest tally by the Gaza-based Health Ministry showed on Sunday that the Palestinian death toll from Israeli attacks has reached 20,424, and 54,036 others were wounded since the conflict broke out on Oct. 7.

Meanwhile, a total of 15 Israeli soldiers were confirmed killed in Gaza over the past weekend, said the Israeli army, bringing to 154 the overall number of slain Israeli soldiers during its ground offensive in Gaza, which was launched in retaliation for a Hamas assault on Oct. 7 that left about 1,200 Israelis killed and more than 200 captivated.

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