Gaza: Israel attacks refugee camp in Rafah – many deaths feared

Gaza: Israel attacks refugee camp in Rafah – many deaths feared

Israel speaks of a “precise strike”, Hamas of a “massacre”: Dozens of civilians are feared dead in an air strike on a tent camp in Gaza. Only hours earlier, rockets had been fired towards Tel Aviv.

According to aid organizations, numerous people in a tent camp housing refugee civilians have been killed in an Israeli air strike in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, the bombing took place on Sunday in the northwest of the city, where Israel’s military is trying to destroy the last Hamas battalions believed to be there. At an emergency center, “dozens of injured and more than 15 dead” were counted, the organization Doctors Without Borders reported.

According to Palestinian sources, the Israeli attack hit the Barkasat refugee camp, run by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), northwest of Rafah. The Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip said at least 35 people were killed and dozens more injured. According to the Israeli military, intelligence had identified significant Hamas terrorists at the site before the attack – two of them were killed and reports of civilian casualties were being investigated.

Airstrike on Rafah: Israel’s army speaks of “precise” strike

The army stated on the online platform X that the “precisely” conducted air strike was aimed at a complex of the Islamist organization Hamas and was carried out in accordance with international law. In addition to Yassin Rabia, the main mastermind behind Hamas’s terrorist activities in the West Bank, the high-ranking Hamas terrorist Khaled Nagar was also killed. Both were significantly involved in the planning and financing of attacks and had the lives of Israeli soldiers on their conscience. The information could not initially be independently verified.

The Red Crescent said the area hit by the airstrike was designated as a humanitarian protection zone for people who had to flee because of the Israeli war. “We are appalled by this deadly incident, which once again shows that nowhere (in the Gaza Strip) is safe,” Doctors Without Borders criticized.

Hamas called for protests against the Israeli “massacre.” “We call on the masses of our people in the West Bank, in Jerusalem, in the occupied territories and abroad to rise up and march with anger,” the Islamist Palestinian organization said.

The Israeli air strike followed rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. According to Israeli sources, at least eight rockets were fired from Rafah at Israel on Sunday. Some of the missiles aimed at the interior of the country were intercepted, Israeli air defense said. In Tel Aviv and central Israel, sirens sounded to warn residents to seek shelter from the rockets, AFP journalists reported. It was the first rocket alert in the region in months. At least three explosions were reported from the center of the country.

Hamas fires rockets at Tel Aviv

The armed wing of Hamas said it had fired a “large barrage of rockets” at the Israeli metropolis of Tel Aviv. This was a response “to the Zionist massacres against civilians,” said the statement by the Izz al-Qassam Brigades.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated before a cabinet meeting on Sunday evening that he is opposed to an end to the war and a withdrawal of the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip. Fulfilling Hamas’s demands would mean that the Palestinian organization “will be able to commit the atrocities of October 7 again and again,” his office said in a statement.

On Friday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Israel to immediately end the military operation in Rafah. Decisions of the world court are binding. However, the UN judges have no power to force a state to implement them.

The human rights organization Amnesty International, meanwhile, called for further investigations by the International Criminal Court against Israel. The NGO said on Monday that three air strikes by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip, in which 32 children and twelve other civilians were killed in April, must be investigated as possible war crimes.

The Gaza War was triggered by the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7. According to Israeli sources, fighters from the Palestinian organization that rules the Gaza Strip killed more than 1,170 people. They also kidnapped 252 people and took them hostage in the Gaza Strip.

In response to the attack, Israel has since launched a massive military operation in the Gaza Strip. According to figures from the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health, which cannot be independently verified, more than 35,900 people have been killed so far.

Source: Stern

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