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JEBALIYA REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza Strip — An Israeli airstrike hit a crowded Gaza shopping area on Wednesday, killing at least 17 people and wounding more than 200 just hours after Israeli tank shells slammed into a U.N. school sheltering displaced Palestinians, killing 15 people, Gaza health officials said. Gaza health ministry official Ashraf al-Kidra and witnesses said the shopping area was busy because residents, and many who had taken shelter in the area from fighting elsewhere, thought a cease-fire was in place. The Palestinian Red Crescent confirmed the death toll. The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the strike on the shopping area and said it was investigating the report.
Israel had earlier announced a "humanitarian window" in certain parts of the territory. But it said it would not halt fire in other areas, including in Shijaiyah, where the strike took place. Hamas dismissed the cease-fire, and Gaza militants fired 27 rockets at Israel after it began. "The area now is like a blood bath, everyone is wounded or killed," said Salim Qadoum, 26, who witnessed the strike. "People lost their limbs and were screaming for help. It's a massacre."
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