International outcry following Israeli attack on Rafah ‘safe zone’

An Israeli airstrike on Sunday triggered a fire that killed at least 45 people in a tent camp in the Gazan city of Rafah, a promised and geographically last remaining ‘safe area’ for displace Palestinians. The death toll is expected to rise from those suffering severe burns. Over half of those who have died were women, children and the elderly.

Israel’s military claims its relentless offensive is solely aimed at eliminating Hamas in Gaza, and said it was investigating reports that a strike it carried out against commanders of the Islamist militant group in Rafah had caused the fire.

3 days earlier, the International Court of Justice had ordered Israel to “immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah Governorate, which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,” as the body’s president, Nawaf Salam, called the humanitarian situation in Rafah “disastrous”.

Following the ruling, Israel’s foreign ministry claims the directive orders to stop its offensive only if it was inflicting conditions that might lead to the physical destruction of the Palestinian population.

In a statement, the foreign ministry said, “Israel has not and will not conduct military actions in the Rafah area which may inflict on the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part” – claiming that Sunday’s attack is not in fact in breach of the ICJ ruling.

Over 800,000 Palestinians have been displaced to the region of Rafah, which borders Egypt – in essence, it is the final place that they can flee to.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday’s strike had not been intended to cause civilian casualties.

“In Rafah, we already evacuated about 1 million non-combatant residents and despite our utmost effort not to harm non-combatants, something unfortunately went tragically wrong,” he said in a parliamentary speech.

According to the Times of Israel, “The Israel Defense Forces said Tuesday that a hidden store of weapons may have been the actual cause of a deadly blaze in southern Gaza’s Rafah, and that an airstrike that targeted an adjacent area had used small munitions that would not ignite such a fire on their own.”

Global leaders urged the implementation of a World Court order to halt Israel’s assault. Among them, Ireland, Norway and Spain have formally recognised Palestine as an independent state, bringing the total of 145 countries out of the 193 UN member states to do so.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he was “outraged” over Israel’s latest attacks. “These operations must stop. There are no safe areas in Rafah for Palestinian civilians,” he said on X.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the West Bank condemned the incident as a “heinous massacre.” Similarly, Egypt condemned Israel’s “deliberate bombing of the tents of displaced people,” with state media describing the attack as a blatant violation of international law.

Israel says it wants to root out Hamas fighters holed up in Rafah and rescue hostages it says are being held in the area.

Media outlets have been heavily criticised throughout the war for their biased coverage towards Palestinians since the Hamas attacks on October 7, 2023 despite evidence and footage circling online of the strikes in Rafah. However, following Sunday’s attack, some right-wing outlets have begun to change their tune – though some outlets, particularly in the US media, seem to be continuing to perpetuating the ‘accidents happen’ narrative. It is worth noting that U.S. supplied GBU-39 bomb fragments have since been found at the site of the strike on Rafah.

Since October 7, around 35,000 Palestinians have been killed and over 77,700 wounded, most of whom were women and children.

Netanyahu admits ‘tragic mistake’ as civilians were ‘burnt alive’ in Rafah camp

The Telegraph

These inhumane attacks on Rafah are no accident. They’re central to the IDF’s brutal, losing strategy

The Guardian

Israeli tanks enter central Rafah for first time following tent camp strike

The Times

Dozens dead after Israeli airstrikes on Rafah as IDF claims two Hamas ‘commanders’ killed – hours after Tel Aviv attack

The Sun

Rafah airstrikes reportedly kill 50 people as Israel launches attack

Daily Express

Rashida Tlaib slams bombing of Rafah as ‘intentional’ as Israel calls it a ‘mistake’


Benjamin Netanyahu admits ‘tragic mistake’ after Israeli strike in Rafah kills ‘at least 45 people’ including displaced people burned alive in tents

Daily Mail

Israel strikes Rafah hours after Netanyahu’s ‘tragic mistake’ claim


Israeli Airstrike in Rafah Kills Dozens in Tent Camp, Gazan Officials Say

New York Times

Netanyahu Says Killing of Civilians in Israeli Strike Was ‘Tragic Mistake’

Wall Street Journal

Eyewitnesses describe horrific scenes after Israeli strike on Rafah camp

The Washington Post

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