Dozens of people were killed and injured after an explosion at a ‘safe zone’ camp in Gaza

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Explosions and fires broke out at a camp for displaced people in Rafah late on Sunday following what authorities in Gaza said were Israeli airstrikes.

Local health officials said at least 35 people were killed and dozens more were injured.

The Israeli military said it attacked a “Hamas compound” in Rafah around that time, but it was looking into the specific incident at a UN-run “safe zone” in the Tal area as-Sultan northwest of the city.

They said two senior Hamas figures were killed in the attack on Tal as-Sultan – naming them as Yassin Rabia and Khaled Nagar, two commanders responsible for the group’s militant activities in the West Bank .

Palestinian witnesses and videos on social media showed fires raging through makeshift tents as survivors tried in vain to free those trapped in the blaze.

Earlier in the day, the Palestinian militant group fired long-range missiles into central Israel for the first time in months, including Tel Aviv, to demonstrate the capabilities it still retains.

Eight rockets were fired from Rafah, less than a kilometer from advancing Israeli troops, in a move that Daniel Hagari, chief spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, attributed to Hamas concerns about its weapons cache their.

Israeli officials have described Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city, as the group’s last stronghold in the territory and earlier this month launched a major air and ground assault on the area.

About 1.2 million people have taken refuge in Rafah from Israeli attacks elsewhere in the Gaza Strip after a Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 sparked the ongoing war.

According to the United Nations, at least 800,000 of them have fled to areas north of Rafah as the Israeli offensive has deepened in recent weeks.

According to international aid groups, they have arrived in places considered “safe zones” but lacking basic services such as clean water and medical care.

Egypt and Israel were on Sunday negotiating to resume aid deliveries to Gaza through the Rafah border crossing in the south of the strip as Israel continued its military operations in the area despite popular opposition. . command to stop from the International Court of Justice.

The ICJ on Friday described the conditions for Palestinians still sheltering inside Rafah is a “disaster”.

Israel has rejected the UN court’s call to halt military operations in Rafah. The court also ordered Israel to reopen the Rafah border crossing to Egypt to receive critically needed aid, as Gazans struggle with severe shortages of food and other necessities.

The humanitarian situation for the people of Gaza has become a point of contention between Israel and its allies, including the United States, and played a role in the court’s decision to issue the order. Israeli Apply new temporary measures.

On Sunday, aid deliveries arrived from Egypt Gaza reconnected but only through the separate Kerem Shalom passage from Israel. Aid from Egypt was halted for several weeks after Israel seized the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing earlier this month and Cairo reacted angrily to the attack.

More than 120 Egyptian aid trucks passed through Kerem Shalom into Gaza on Sunday, Israeli military officials said, after US President Joe Biden spoke on Friday with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al- Sisi in an effort to reduce tensions.

The White House said negotiations were ongoing to “reopen the Rafah crossing with agreements acceptable to both Egypt and Israel,” an Israeli official said, a move that would require a tactical realignment IDF personnel in the area.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s chief diplomat, said on Sunday the situation in Gaza was “beyond words” as he spoke in Brussels alongside Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa.

The Israeli military announced on Sunday that aid into Gaza had doubled from last week and that supplies included 300,000 liters of fuel to provide essential services at shelters and hospitals.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected Israel’s call to stop the attack. He also denied war crimes charges from the International Criminal Court prosecutor who last week. request an arrest warrant against him and his defense minister.

Mr. Netanyahu affirmed that his country’s forces will pursue “comprehensive victory” against Hamas.

According to Israeli military analysts, in recent days, Israeli forces have taken control of more than 70% of Gaza’s border with Egypt, known as the Philadelphia corridor, and have advanced deeper into Rafah, in There is the al-Shaboura refugee camp.

Israeli officials insist military action in Rafah is necessary to eliminate the last four remaining Hamas battalions and cut off the group’s access to smuggling routes from Egypt.

Israeli special forces in recent weeks have also recovered the bodies of six hostages held by Hamas since October 7. According to Israeli officials, 125 Israeli and foreign citizens are still being held in Gaza, in which 39 people were confirmed dead.

Negotiations to release them as part of a truce are expected to resume at the weekend in Paris when the head of Israel’s Mossad, David Barnea, meets with CIA director Bill Burns and Qatar’s prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed. bin Abdulrahman al-Thani.

Additional reporting by Henry Foy


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