Entire Palestinian families killed, according to wire agency’s report on war

AP cites experts who claim high toll likely caused by huge US-made bombs not designed for deployment in populated areas

Destruction in the Gaza Strip amid ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas. Photograph: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

Israel’s eight-month air and ground offensive in Gaza has wiped out entire Palestinian families , a new report on the war has found.

The report, by the Associated Press (AP) new agency, said the impact of the war on families has happened “to a degree never seen before.”

It identified 60 Palestinian families where “at least 25 people were killed — sometimes from the same bloodline — in bombings between October and December.”

The survey is based on Gaza health ministry records until March, online death announcements, social media, witness and survivor accounts and data from London-based monitor Antiwars.

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Documentation could be difficult because “no one was left”, said the AP. It said the death toll among family groups may be so high because multigenerational extended Palestinian families often live together in blocks of flats and compounds.

The agency conducted detailed investigations into 10 Israeli strikes between October 7th and December 24th where the death toll was 50 or more. These strikes were on homes and shelters “where parents, children, grandparents were huddled together for safety”. it said. It cited experts who said the high toll was likely caused by huge US-made bombs, which are not designed for use in populated areas, that had been “aimed at tunnels” allegedly hiding Hamas fighters.

There was “only one [case] in which Israel named a targeted [Hamas] commander”, it said, adding that there were no “obvious” military targets and no warnings. During previous military campaigns in Gaza, Israeli forces have sent SMS texts or knocked on rooftops to warn residents to flee targeted buildings.

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The agency cited interviews with legal analyst Youssef Salem, who fled northern Gaza for Istanbul with his wife and toddler daughter two years ago. Mr Salem lost 173 relatives to Israeli air strikes last December. “By spring that toll had risen to 270,” the report said.

The last three strikes the agency investigated killed 106 people from eight families at Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza. In a statement after the strikes, Israel said it “mistakenly’ struck two adjacent targets” while aiming at Hamas fighters and expressed regret for “the injury to those not involved”.

Independent Gazan researcher Omar Shabaan, whose family has suffered many deaths, said that of Gaza’s 400,000 families, “none has been spared. Everyone is targeted; families from all classes, poor, Bedouins, farmers. businessmen, wealthy people who are nationalist but unaffiliated with political action. It is becoming clear that this is a targeting of the social structure.”

The Israeli government press office did not reply to a request for comment.