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Gaza warns of ‘environmental catastrophe’ as landfill fire rages

Gaza officials have called for international help
to extinguish a fire that started in a landfill in a village near the fence with Israel, saying it could last for days and
cause “an environmental catastrophe”.

A large cloud of heavy smoke billowed into the sky as night
fell on Thursday, and there was a strong smell of burning rubbish across
Gaza City.

The fire started “in the eastern part of a landfill in Juhr
al Deek, southeast of Gaza City, near the separation fence, for
reasons that have yet to be confirmed,” the Gaza municipality
said in a statement.

“We fear the fire might spread across the landfill and
result in an environmental catastrophe.”

Local fire crews did not have the capacity to cope with the
blaze, it added.

Palestine declares day of mourning after fire kills 21 in Gaza

The authority called on international
organisations to help put out the blaze, and for international
pressure on Israel to lift a blockade to let equipment in.

Israel has enforced a blockade
of Gaza from land, air and sea since 2007, restricting the
movement of people and goods.

Palestinians say these restrictions have severely impeded their ability to respond to

Last November, a fire broke out in a residential building in a refugee camp in the north of the besieged enclave, killing 21 members of a family and injuring several others.

READ MORE: In Hamas-governed Gaza, Fatah rallies against ‘racist’ Netanyahu government

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