HomeTop StoriesOutrage after 45 deaths in Israeli attack near Rafah

Outrage after 45 deaths in Israeli attack near Rafah

The Hamas-run health authority in Gaza said Monday that 45 people were killed and dozens injured in an Israeli airstrike that hit tents housing displaced people near the southern city of Rafah.

Most of the airstrike’s victims were women and children, the health authority said, describing the incident as a “massacre.”

The information could not initially be independently verified, but the Palestinian Red Crescent said earlier on the social media platform

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, that Israel was investigating “an incident.”

“In Rafah we have evacuated about a million civilians,” Netanyahu said on Monday.

“Tragically, despite our tremendous efforts to prevent harm to non-combatants, an incident occurred yesterday. We are investigating it thoroughly and will learn from it, as is our policy and long-standing behavior.”

“For us, any injury to non-combatants is a tragedy, for Hamas it is a strategy,” Netanyahu said. “That’s the core difference.”

Earlier, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said via X that two senior officials of the Palestinian militant group Hamas were killed in the airstrike.

“The attack was carried out against legitimate targets under international law, through the use of precise munitions and on the basis of accurate intelligence indicating Hamas use of the area,” the IDF said in a statement.

“The IDF is aware of reports indicating that as a result of the attack and the fire that was ignited, several civilians in the area suffered harm. The incident is currently under investigation,” the statement said.

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The strike came just days after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ordered Israel to halt the attack on Rafah.

The incident sparked international horror and outrage.

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday, following a request from Algeria, backed by Slovenia, diplomats said.

UN Secretary General António Guterres condemned the airstrikes “which killed dozens of innocent civilians who merely sought refuge from this deadly conflict,” he wrote on X.

“There is no safe place in Gaza. This horror must stop.”

Meanwhile, a firefight between Israeli and Egyptian forces near the Gaza Strip border also raised new concerns that the war could escalate.

An Egyptian soldier was killed, an Egyptian military spokesman confirmed Monday.

It is the first publicly known fatality in the ranks of the Egyptian army since the start of the Gaza war almost eight months ago. The Israeli military confirmed a firefight and said the incident was under investigation.

The situation at the Rafah border crossing has become increasingly tense. Israeli forces recently took control of the border crossing on the Palestinian side, as well as a border strip between Egypt and Gaza.

Aid organizations report dozens of deaths in Israeli attack

The Palestinian Red Crescent said the airstrike hit a designated humanitarian zone for those forced to evacuate Rafah due to Israeli fighting.

The aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) reported that a medical facility it supports in the area treated dozens of injured people, while more than 15 dead were taken to their trauma stabilization point.

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“We are shocked by this deadly event, which once again shows that nowhere is safe. We continue to call for an immediate and lasting ceasefire in Gaza,” Doctors Without Borders said on X.

Arab countries react angrily

Several Arab countries condemned the Israeli airstrike on Monday.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said the “deliberate bombing of the tents of displaced persons in the Palestinian city of Rafah” was a “new and blatant violation of the provisions of international law.”

Qatar also condemned the attack as a “serious violation of international laws that will worsen the humanitarian crisis in the besieged Strip.”

The Qatari Foreign Ministry expressed concern that the latest strike would complicate ongoing mediation efforts and hinder a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas confirmed to DPA that it was suspending ceasefire negotiations, which were expected to restart this week.

In separate statements, Jordan and Kuwait condemned the “war crimes” committed by Israel in Gaza and urged the international community to force Israel to comply with the International Court of Justice ruling on Rafah.

Germany calls a strike ‘A wrong’

German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said the airstrike was likely “a mistake” and again defended Israel’s “right to defend itself within the framework of international law.”

Asked about allegations of Israeli war crimes in Gaza, Hebestreit said the German government would withhold judgment.

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“The conclusion as to whether this is a war crime in terms of international law is something that should be left to lawyers who know the exact facts,” Hebestreit said in Berlin.

If there is evidence of such a crime, the German government would certainly condemn it, Hebestreit said.

World leaders condemn Israel air raid in Rafa

French President Emmanuel Macron was among leaders calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and full compliance with international law.

“These operations must stop,” an “indignant” Macron wrote on X. “There are no safe zones for Palestinian civilians in Rafah.”

The “devastating images” after the attack were “heartbreaking,” a US State Department spokesperson said.

“We are actively engaging the IDF and partners on the ground to assess what happened, and understand that the IDF is conducting an investigation.”

“We are shocked by the attacks that killed Palestinian civilians in Rafah,” Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly wrote on X.

“Israel’s attacks have had horrific and unacceptable consequences,” wrote Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong.

The war in Gaza was sparked by the massacre of more than 1,200 people by terrorists from Hamas and other militant groups on October 7.

Israel responded with massive air strikes and a ground offensive. International criticism of Israel has increased as the death toll among Palestinians has risen. According to the Hamas authorities in Gaza, there are currently more than 35,000 deaths.

Palestinians inspect their destroyed tents after an Israeli airstrike, which left numerous dead and injured, in the Al-Mawasi area, which was bombarded with a number of rockets targeting the tents of displaced people west of the city of Rafah in southern Gaza Strip.  Abed Rahim Khatib/dpa

Palestinians inspect their destroyed tents after an Israeli airstrike, which left numerous dead and injured, in the Al-Mawasi area, which was bombarded with a number of rockets targeting the tents of displaced people west of the city of Rafah in southern Gaza Strip. Abed Rahim Khatib/dpa

Palestinians inspect their destroyed tents after an Israeli airstrike, which left numerous dead and injured, in the Al-Mawasi area, which was bombarded with a number of rockets targeting the tents of displaced people west of the city of Rafah in southern Gaza Strip.  Abed Rahim Khatib/dpaPalestinians inspect their destroyed tents after an Israeli airstrike, which left numerous dead and injured, in the Al-Mawasi area, which was bombarded with a number of rockets targeting the tents of displaced people west of the city of Rafah in southern Gaza Strip.  Abed Rahim Khatib/dpa

Palestinians inspect their destroyed tents after an Israeli airstrike, which left numerous dead and injured, in the Al-Mawasi area, which was bombarded with a number of rockets targeting the tents of displaced people west of the city of Rafah in southern Gaza Strip. Abed Rahim Khatib/dpa

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