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Gazan officials said Israeli airstrikes killed dozens of people in a tent camp in Rafah

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An Israeli airstrike on a makeshift tent camp for displaced Palestinians in Rafah, Gaza, killed at least 35 people on Sunday night, the Gaza Health Ministry said. The Israeli military said the attack targeted a Hamas compound.

In a statement, the Israeli military said it was looking into reports that “several civilians in the area were harmed” by the airstrike and a subsequent fire. A subsequent statement said two Hamas leaders were killed in the attack.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said its ambulance teams had taken a large number of victims to the Tal as Sultan clinic and field hospitals in Rafah, where few hospitals remained operational and “ “many” people were trapped in fires in this area. where the strike took place.

The Red Crescent said the strike targeted the Tal as Sultan area of ​​Rafah, in an area the Israeli military has designated as a humanitarian zone, where it had asked Palestinian civilians to take shelter before the attack. Ground attack in Rafah.

Israel’s attack on Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza, has come under scrutiny, especially after the International Court of Justice on Friday ordered Israel to “immediately” halt its military offensive. there. Although the court has few effective means of enforcing its orders, it puts more pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to rein in attacks in Gaza and reduce civilian casualties.

Bilal al-Sapti, 30, a construction worker in Rafah, said shrapnel from the attack tore through the tent where he was staying with his wife and two children, but his family was not injured.

“What kind of tent will protect us from missiles and shrapnel?” he say.

Mr. al-Sapti said that at the scene of the attack, he saw charred bodies and people screaming as firefighters tried to put out the fire. “The fire was very strong and spread throughout the camp,” he said. “It was dark there and there was no electricity.”

Doctors Without Borders said more than 15 people killed and dozens injured in the attack in Rafah were taken to a trauma stabilization center it supports in Tal as Sultan.

Dr. James Smith, a British emergency specialist in Rafah who was working at that center, said the attack killed displaced people who were “looking for a place of refuge and hidden to some extent in tents.”

Speaking from a home several miles from the trauma center, a distance he said had become too dangerous to cross, Dr. Smith said the footage was shared by his colleagues at the trauma center. shares of injuries from the strike and fire were “really a handful.” worst thing I’ve ever seen.”

Although the United Nations estimates that more than 800,000 people fled Rafah in the weeks after the Israeli military announced its offensive, the area remains densely populated, Dr. Smith said.

“These are very, very tightly packed tents,” he said. “And a fire like this can spread over great distances with catastrophic consequences in a very short period of time.”

The attack was “one of the most horrific things I have seen or heard about during the weeks I have worked in Gaza,” he added.

Maj. Gen. Yifat Tomer-Yerushalmi, the Israeli military’s top legal official, said Monday that the airstrike was under review. She said military police have opened about 70 criminal investigations into possible wrongdoing during the war.

“Naturally, in a war of such scale and intensity, complicated incidents also occur,” General Tomer-Yerushalmi said in a speech to the Israel Bar Association. “Some incidents, like last night’s incident in Rafah, are very serious.” She added that the military “regrets any harm to unrelated civilians during the war.”

Report contributed by Patrick Kingsley, Johnatan Reiss, Iyad Abuheweila And Aaron the boxer.


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