Scores found dead in rubble of Gaza City district, officials say

Rescue and ambulance crews have retrieved some 60 bodies from under the rubble in the Shejaiya neighborhood in Gaza City after Israeli troops withdrew from the area, Gaza's Civil Defense Agency said on Thursday.

Just hours after the two-week offensive on Gaza City's Shujaiya district ended, Palestinians had already found 60 bodies as they picked through the piles of concrete and dust left behind, officials in Hamas-run Gaza said Thursday.

Families of missing residents and civil defence agency crews moved in for the grim search after Israel announced late Wednesday that it had ended its operation there against Hamas.

"Once the Israeli occupation forces withdrew from the Shujaiya neighbourhood, civil defence crews, with local residents, managed to recover about 60 martyrs up to now," agency spokesman Mahmud Bassal said.

Some 85 percent of buildings are now "uninhabitable" and Shujaiya has been turned into a "disaster zone", he added, estimating that 120,000 people had been left homeless.

Residents who returned found a ghost town.

Sabrin Abu Asr said the district was "in ruins" as she went back to see the debris of her home.

Like most buildings, only a skeletal frame remained after two weeks of clashes between the Israeli army and Palestinian militants that forced tens of thousands of people to flee.

The rest lay collapsed in piles of crushed concrete, cinder blocks and twisted rebar.


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