Gaza officials claim that an Israeli airstrike that targeted a tent camp for displaced people killed scores of people

Israeli airstrike kills dozens
Israeli airstrike kills dozens

As the strike received widespread attention, the Israeli military said that it had targeted two senior Hamas leaders in Rafah and that the event was being investigated.

Local officials reported that an Israeli aircraft struck an area where displaced residents were seeking shelter in tents, causing a fire that spread across the camp, resulting in the deaths of numerous individuals in Rafah late on Sunday.

Some video posted on social media showed horrifying images including severely charred bodies and a guy cradling what looks to be the headless body of a tiny child. Images showed the area engulfed in flames as screaming Palestinians fled for safety.

Only a few days after the top court of the United Nations ordered Israel to stop its onslaught on the southern Gaza metropolis where over a million people had sought refuge, world leaders condemned the strike. A cease-fire accord could be hampered, Qatar warned, and Israel’s military prosecutor confirmed that the “extremely difficult” situation was being looked into.

Related Article: Israel instructed by Joe Biden to safeguard the “exposed and vulnerable” Rafah inhabitants

Although it had announced that it had targeted two senior Hamas commanders, the Israel Defence Forces said they will investigate allegations of fire leaking to civilian shelter locations.

The situation on the ground could not be independently verified by NBC News.

“They said it’s secure.”
At least 35 people had died in the Tal al-Sultan neighbourhood, most of them women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry. First responders had warned that as many people were caught in flames that burst after the bombardment, the death toll may grow.

Additionally, the Palestinian Civil Defence in Rafah said on Monday that the number of fatalities had increased to at least 40.

According to spokesperson Muhammad Al-Mughir, “this is the largest in the city of Rafah in months.” NBC News was informed of this. He emphasised that the targeted area was next to U.N. warehouses and was classified as a “humanitarian area.”

The attack on Sunday occurred less than a mile from a trauma patient stabilisation site run by Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders, according to Samuel Johann, the organization’s emergency coordinator in Gaza. He reported that the hospital had received dozens of patients, at least 28 of whom had already passed away and 180 injured.

A family recounted their terrifying escape when it seemed that the apartment block they were taking refuge in was affected.

“Windows smashed suddenly,” Hala Siam reported to the NBC News team on the scene. “The kids became frightened. Everyone of us left for the street.”

Siam remarked of the location she and her family were taking refuge in, “They told it is safe.” “Rafah lacks any safe places.”

The IDF said that two Hamas commanders were the targets of its assault because they were in charge of planning terrorist acts in the occupied West Bank region. It stated that the event was “under examination” and that it was aware of claims that the strike set fire to civilian tents.

The IDF claimed in a statement that it “carried out the strike on legal targets under international law” and that it employed “precise munitions” based on “precise intelligence that showed Hamas’ use of the area.”

When asked if it targeted a location inside a designated safe zone, the IDF could not immediately react.

The situation was called “extremely tough” by Israel’s senior military prosecutor, who also mentioned that an inquiry was being conducted.

At an Israel Bar Association meeting, Maj. Gen. Yifat Tomer Yerushalmi stated, “The IDF regrets any harm to un-involved citizens during the war.”

Hamas called the strike a horrifying “massacre” in a statement. It did not corroborate the commander’s or senior leader’s death.

The first missile bombardment into Israel in many weeks was announced earlier on Sunday by Al-Qassam Brigades, the military arm of Hamas, with a target of Tel Aviv. The IDF reported that many rockets had been intercepted and that eight projectiles had been identified as entering Israeli territory from the Rafah area.

Mediators Qatar and Egypt denounced the strike as a breach of international law as indignation over Sunday’s Rafah incident grew. It could jeopardise efforts to reach a peace agreement that would guarantee the release of the other hostages, Qatar, a crucial mediator in negotiations with Hamas, cautioned.

An Israeli official told NBC News that the Israeli government was hopeful that discussions may continue this week after CIA Director William Burns held talks in Paris over the weekend.

However, French President Emmanuel Macron declared that “these operations must end” and expressed his horror at “the Israeli strikes that have murdered numerous displaced civilians in Rafah.”

Following the attack on Sunday, a spokesman for the US National Security Council stated, “We’re aware of the reports and gathering further information.”

Israel’s military activities seem to have been “more targeted and limited,” according to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan during a briefing last Wednesday before of the International Court of Justice’s decision.

President Joe Biden had made no secret of the fact that he would halt the delivery of some weaponry in the event of a full-scale attack on Rafah.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has come under growing criticism for Israel’s handling of the war, which it started in response to the Oct. 7 offensive conducted by Hamas. According to officials, some 1,200 people were killed and 250 more were taken hostage; of these, 125 are believed to be still in captivity in Gaza, and about a quarter are likely to have died.

Over three quarters of a million people have died in Gaza during the past seven months of fighting, local health officials have reported. Aid organisations have issued dire warnings about the terrible circumstances facing inhabitants in the enclave, where a lack of food and potable water might lead to a famine in some areas.

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