Israel ‘regrets harm to civilians’ after refugee camp hit that killed dozens: Live updates

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The Israeli military apologized Thursday for a strike that killed dozens of people in the Maghazi refugee camp in the center of Gaza this week, admitting the assault likely caused “unintended harm” to civilians.

The military issued a statement to USA TODAY saying Israeli fighter jets struck two targets near where Hamas militants were found. Steps had been taken to “mitigate harm to uninvolved civilians” in the area, the military said. A preliminary investigation revealed that additional buildings near the target were hit and”likely caused unintended harm to additional uninvolved civilians.”

The military said the General Staff’s Fact Finding and Assessment Mechanism, responsible for investigating exceptional events that occur during combat, was reviewing the attack.

“The IDF regrets the harm caused to uninvolved civilians and is acting to draw conclusions and learn lessons from this event,” the statement said.

A military statement obtained by Israel’s KAN 11 TV said “the type of weaponry did not match the nature of the attack, so that extensive collateral damage was caused − something that could have been avoided.”

The strike late Sunday destroyed several houses in the camp that were packed with refugees who had fled northern Gaza under Israeli evacuation orders. At least 70 people were killed, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Israel says it orders evacuations ahead of such strikes, but local residents told Al Jazeera there was no warning before the bombs slammed into the camp.

Developments:

∎ Troops operating in the Khan Yunis area of southern Gaza located several tunnel entrances, including one in a mosque, the Israeli military says. The military has repeatedly accused Hamas of using mosques and public buildings for military quarters and as hiding places.

∎ Thousands of Israeli teens chanted “Everyone, now” as they marched near the Knesset in Jerusalem calling for the return of the hostages from Gaza.

Airport protests over Gaza in NYC, LA: Some travelers forced to walk to terminals

An Israeli military reservist killed in Gaza this week had successfully auditioned for a TV show that picks Israel’s submission to the wildly popular Eurovision Song Contest. Shaul Greenglick, 26, performed in Israeli army fatigues on “Israel’s Rising Star” on Dec. 3 while on furlough from the war. He sang a popular ballad and was moved through to the next round in the process, the Jerusalem Post reported.

“It’s reassuring that someone like you is in uniform,” singer and competition judge Keren Peles told Greenglick. “I would be happy to see you representing Israel at Eurovision.” Peles later said Greenglick had been forced to drop out of the contest because of his military duties.

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Israel ‘regrets harm to civilians’ after refugee camp hit that killed dozens: Live updates

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