Israel: Netanyahu says Israeli attack on Rafah refugee camp that left dozens dead was a ‘tragic accident’

Israel: Netanyahu says Israeli attack on Rafah refugee camp that left dozens dead was a ‘tragic accident’
Israel: Netanyahu says Israeli attack on Rafah refugee camp that left dozens dead was a ‘tragic accident’

Image source, Getty Images

Article information
  • Author, Drafting
  • Role, BBC News World
  • May 27, 2024, 02:01 GMT

    Updated 2 hours

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 carried out a targeted airstrike on a Hamas compound in the area that killed two of its leaders and said it was “investigating the circumstances of the civilian deaths in the area.”

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benajmin Netanyahu called what happened a “tragic accident“and stressed that an investigation is underway to determine what happened.

The Red Crescent reported that its ambulances 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 on an area populated by tents where displaced persons by the war take refuge about two kilometers northwest of the city of Rafah.

According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, the attack hit an area designated as humanitarian protection and far from where recent military operations have taken place.

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

Video footage showed temporary facilities on fire next to a sign reading “Kuwaiti Peace Camp 1” and emergency personnel and civilians carrying bodies.

Abed Mohammed al Attar told Reuters that his brother and sister-in-law died in the bombing.

“The Israeli army lies. There is no security in Gaza, not even for a child, an elderly person or a woman,” he denounced.

“We were sitting outside our house quietly. Suddenly, we heard the sound of a missile,” said Fadi Dukhan, a witness to the attack.

“We ran and found the street covered in smoke,” said Dukhan, who said that he and others saw a girl and a young man who had died in the attack.

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

Egyptian authorities reported that they are investigating another incident in which one of their security forces was killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli soldiers on the border with Gaza.

The Israeli military said it was in communication with authorities in Egypt regarding a shooting incident.

Image source, Reuters

Caption, The attack left many trapped in the flames, according to the Red Crescent.

Image source, Getty Images

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

Israeli army identifies dead Hamas leaders such as Yassin Rabia, responsible for combatant groups in the occupied West Bank, and Khaled Nagar, accused of organizing and carrying out deadly attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians.

“Prior to the attack, a series of measures were taken to reduce the risk of harm to uninvolved civilians, including aerial surveillance, the deployment of precision munitions by the Air Force and additional intelligence,” Israeli military officials said in a statement. .

“Based on these measures, it was assessed that there would be no unexpected harm to uninvolved civilians,” the statement continued.

“The Air Force regrets any harm to civilians not involved during combat.”

Israeli government spokesman Avi Hyman told the BBC that “from initial reports it appears that somehow a fire broke out which, sadly, has claimed other lives.”

The NGO Doctors Without Borders reported that during the night 15 bodies and dozens of wounded arrived at one of the points it serves in Rafah.

A spokeswoman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees said they were having great difficulty communicating with their teams on the ground in Rafah.

“What we know is that there has been a serious incident near one of our largest buildings in the northwest of Rafah. We are talking about dozens of people being killed and many others injured,” he told the BBC.

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.

Rockets against Tel Aviv

Hours before the Israeli attack on the refugee camp, 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.

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 Hamas took in its Oct. 7 attack are there.

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

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

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.

The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, declared himself “furious” about what happened and reiterated his call for a ceasefire in Gaza. “These operations must stop.”

In a statement published on

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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