Gaza camp hit by deadly strike as Israel denies involvement, civil defence reports 21 dead

Gaza camp hit by deadly strike as Israel denies involvement, civil defence reports 21 dead
Gaza camp hit by deadly strike as Israel denies involvement, civil defence reports 21 dead

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp area housing internally displaced people in Rafah. — AFP pic

RAFAH, May 29 — A civil defence official in Hamas-run Gaza said an Israeli strike on a displacement camp west of Rafah yesterday killed at least 21 people, after a similar strike that sparked global outrage.

Israel denied carrying out the latest reported strike, which occurred hours ahead of a UN Security Council meeting to discuss a Sunday strike which Palestinian officials said killed 45 people.

Despite mounting concerns over the civilian toll of its war on Hamas, Israel has shown no signs of changing course and international efforts aimed at securing a ceasefire remain stalled.

In the latest bloodshed, Gaza’s civil defence agency official Mohammad al-Mughayyir said 21 people were killed in an “occupation strike targeting the tents of displaced people” in west Rafah. Hamas said an Israeli strike on the area caused “dozens of martyrs and wounded”.


Israel’s army rejected the allegations, saying it “did not strike” the designated humanitarian area in Al-Mawasi.

In Rafah, residents and a Palestinian security source said Israeli tanks had now penetrated the heart of the southern city.

“People are currently inside their homes because anyone who moves is being shot at by Israeli drones,” one resident, Abdel Khatib, said.


‘Random bombing’

An emergency United Nations Security Council meeting is due today to discuss Sunday’s deadly strike.

Ahead of the meeting, Israel’s military said the weapons used in that strike “could not” have caused the deadly blaze in the camp.

“Our munition alone could not have ignited a fire of this size,” said military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari.

Sunday evening’s strike, which medics said also wounded hundreds of civilians, drew worldwide condemnation.

The sight of the charred carnage, blackened corpses and children being rushed to hospitals led UN chief Antonio Guterres to declare that: “There is no safe place in Gaza. This horror must stop.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the strike as a “tragic accident” but affirmed the continuation of the campaign to destroy Hamas over the October 7 attack and to bring home all the hostages.

Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad on Tuesday released a video showing an Israeli hostage alive and held in Gaza, identified by Israeli media as Sasha Trupanov, 28.

Air strikes and shelling battered Gaza overnight Monday-Tuesday — including the Tal al-Sultan area where the displacement camp went up in flames near a facility of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

Faten Jouda, a 30-year-old resident, described the situation as very dangerous.

“We didn’t sleep all night. There was random bombing from all directions, including artillery shelling and air bombardment as well as firing from aircraft.

“We saw everyone fleeing again,” she told AFP. “We too will go now and head to Al-Mawasi because we fear for our lives,” she said of the nearby coastal area Israel has declared a safe “humanitarian zone”.

‘Hell on Earth’

Sunday night’s attack that killed dozens in the displaced persons camp was targeting two senior Hamas members, the Israeli military said.

It said aircraft “struck a Hamas compound” and killed Yassin Rabia and Khaled Nagar, senior officials for the group in the occupied West Bank.

The strike came hours after Hamas fired a barrage of rockets towards Tel Aviv, with most being intercepted.

The civilian death toll in the Gaza camp prompted a wave of condemnation, with Palestinians and many Arab countries calling it a “massacre”.

UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini said Monday that “the images from last night are testament to how Rafah has turned into hell on Earth”.

On the diplomatic front, Egypt has “intensified efforts to relaunch” negotiations for a “truce and a detainee exchange deal”, the state-linked Al-Qahera News reported. — AFP

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