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At least 21 people, including seven children, were murdered on Thursday in a massive fire that tore through a residence north of Gaza City where fuel was being stored, according to official sources.

Islamists from Hamas, who rule the Israeli-blocked Palestinian enclave, claimed firefighters had put out the fire in Jabalia, which had left burned walls and piles of black soot behind before being put out.

The civil defence organisation in Gaza acknowledged the death toll in a statement.

At least seven children's remains had been brought to the Indonesian Hospital in Jabalia, according to Abu Laila, the facility's director, who spoke to AFP.

A representative for the civil defence unit told AFP that fuel supplies were kept in the residence, despite the fact that the cause of the fire was still under investigation.