Spokesperson of the Palestinian Interior Ministry, Khalid Abu Hilal, denied media reports that stated that shots were fired at the convoy of the Interior Minister, Hani Al Qawasmi, when he visited Um Al Nassr Bedouin village in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.Abu Hilal stated that Qawasmi's guards fired several rounds in the air as dozens of residents gathered in the area. The shots were fired into the air in an attempt to clear the road for the ministers’ convoy, Abu Hilal added.
In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Abu Hilal stated that after the minister heard about the disaster in the area, he decided to cancel all of his programs and visit it in an attempt to rescue the lives of the residents.
Nine Palestinians were killed and dozens were injured in Um Al Nasser village, north of Beit Lahia, when sewage flooded the houses and agricultural lands. Medical sources expect more casualties.
Ground-level holding pools near the village which contained raw sewage erupted on Tuesday midday, flooding the village and leaving at least 200 homes under immersed.
Medical sources reported that so far nine residents have been dead on arrival at Kamal Adwan hospital, and a countless number of people are injured. Palestinian rescue teams stated that the death toll may rise, since there are homes that are completely underwater with the residents still inside them.
The village of Um Al Nassr was established in 1999 for Palestinian Bedouins to settle in. It is located between the Israeli and Gaza borders, and the village was heavily attacked by the army due to its close location to nearby Israeli settlements which were evacuated in the disengagement plan in 2005.