An Israeli attack on a refugee camp in Rafah leaves dozens dead, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health

Fire in the Rafah refugee camp.

Image source, Reuters

Caption, The attack left many trapped in the flames, according to the Red Crescent.
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  • Author, Drafting
  • Role, BBC News World
  • May 27, 2024, 02:01 GMT

At least 45 people were killed, including women and children, and dozens were injured after an Israeli attack on a refugee camp near Rafah, in Gaza, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, controlled by Hamas.

Videos taken at the site – in the southern Gaza Strip – showed a large explosion and intense fires. Palestinian authorities believe the figure could be even higher.

The Israeli military said it had carried out an airstrike targeting a Hamas compound in the area and was aware of a fire at the site that had caused harm to civilians.

In a later statement, it reported that two Hamas leaders had been killed in the attack. The military said it was continuing to review what happened.

The Red Crescent reported that its ambulances had transported a “large” number of injured to the Tal as Sultan clinic and field hospitals in Rafah, where there are hardly any operational medical centers left, and that “numerous” civilians were trapped by the flames left by the attack.

According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, the attack hit a refugee camp occupied by displaced Palestinians due to the war in Gaza, in one designated as humanitarian protection and far from where the recent military operations have taken place.

But the Israeli military said it used precision weapons against legitimate targets.

Qatar, which has played a key mediation role between Israel and Hamas, warned that the attack could hamper mediation efforts to reach a ceasefire and a hostage exchange agreement in Gaza.

Remains of the fire

Image source, Getty Images

Caption, Displaced people from other Gazan cities that are already under Israeli control take refuge in Rafah.

Hours earlier, Hamas had launched eight rockets from Rafah towards Tel AvivIsrael’s largest city, in the first attack of its kind since January.

Residents of Tel Aviv had to take cover when bombing warning sirens began to sound in the city center.

Eight rockets were intercepted by air defense systems or fell in the field, according to Israeli authorities.

Although no injuries were reported, the attack is a reminder of the threat Hamas poses to Israeli civilians.

Hamas said the attack on Tel Aviv was a response to Israel’s “massacre of Palestinian civilians.”

The Israeli military offensive in Rafah continues, despite the International Court of Justice ruling on Friday that US calls for the Israeli government to avoid punishment of civilians who have taken refuge in this area in the south must now stop. of Gaza from the bombs in the rest of the strip.

Aerial view of the refugee camp

Image source, Getty Images

Caption, In a matter of weeks, the population of Rafah multiplied by five due to the Israeli military operation to punish the October 7 attacks.

About 1.5 million had taken refuge there from fighting elsewhere in Gaza, according to the United Nations.

The Israeli army continues its advance towards the southern tip of Gaza to expel Hamas from what it calls its “last great stronghold.” He claims that some of the Israeli hostages that Hamas took in its attack of October 7 are there.

The new day of violence comes ahead of new ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Hamas, which are expected to resume next week.

Israel’s military campaign in Gaza began after Hamas-led gunmen attacked Israel on October 7, leaving around 1,200 people dead and taking 252 hostage.

Almost 36,000 Palestinians have died in the war since then, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

Remains of the tents to which the fire spread

Image source, Getty Images

Caption, Israel’s military says it is investigating the attack.

Several Arab countries have condemned the deadly attack and many others called for immediate international intervention to stop Israeli attacks on Gaza.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Qatar’s Foreign Ministry called the Israeli attack a “serious violation of international law” that will aggravate “the humanitarian crisis in the refugee camp.”

Also Egypt urged Israel to “fulfill its legal obligations as an occupying power and implement the recent order of the International Court of Justice.” to stop its military operation in Rafah.”

“This tragic attack is a continuation of harm against unarmed civilians and a systematic policy aimed at expand the scope of carnage and destruction in the Gaza Strip, making it uninhabitable“said Egyptian authorities.

In a statement carried by the state news agency Petra, the spokesperson for the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs He called Israeli actions “war crimes.” that the international community must face.

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