Israeli airstrikes kill dozens: Gaza officials

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Israeli airstrikes killed at least 78 people in Gaza, Palestinian health officials said, in one of the besieged enclave’s deadliest nights of the 11-week-old battle with Hamas.

Strikes that began hours before midnight persisted into Monday. Residents and Palestinian media said Israel stepped up air and ground shelling against al-Bureij in central Gaza.

Pope Francis, speaking on Christmas Eve, lamented that Jesus’ message of peace was being drowned out by the “futile logic of war” in the very land where he was born.

At least 70 people were killed in an Israeli airstrike targeting Maghazi in central Gaza, health ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qidra said, adding that many were women and children.

Local residents of central Gaza refugee camps said they had lived one of their worst nights since the war began. Israeli planes and tanks carried out dozens of air strikes on houses and roads in al-Bureij and nearby al-Nusseirat and al-Maghazi.

Several residents made pleas on social media for people to afford them shelter as they have become homeless after leaving their homes in Bureij.