At least 35 killed in Israeli airstrike on displaced persons camp in Rafah

Palestinian medics told the Associated Press on Sunday that 22 people were killed in an Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza city of Rafah that hit tents for displaced people. The reported airstrike came hours after Hamas claimed that it fired a barrage of rockets from Gaza toward central Israel as rocket sirens rang for the first time in months in cities like Tel Aviv. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Gaza’s Ministry of Health said in a statement that 35 people had been killed and dozens injured, mostly women and children. In light of the attack, the statement said, “the Ministry of Health confirms that never before in history has such a large number of mass killing tools been amassed and employed together in front of the world as is happening now in Gaza,” noting the severe shortages of water, food, medicine, electricity and fuel.

Eyewitnesses told CBS News’ team in Gaza that eight airstrikes hit tents in western Rafah, though the reports could not be independently confirmed. The eyewitnesses said the casualties, which included civilians, were rushed to Emirati Hospital. The tents were part of a camp about 200 meters (about 650 feet) away from the largest United Nations warehouse in the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces acknowledged the strike in a statement Sunday night.

“A short while ago, an IDF aircraft struck a Hamas compound in Rafah in which significant Hamas terrorists were operating,” the IDF said. “The strike was carried out against legitimate targets under international law, using through the use of precise munitions and on the basis of precise intelligence that indicated Hamas’ use of the area. The IDF is aware of reports indicating that as a result of the strike and fire that was ignited several civilians in the area were harmed. The incident is under review.”

Footage from the scene showed heavy destruction, and a spokesperson with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said the death toll was likely to increase as search and rescue efforts continued in Rafah’s Tal al-Sultan neighborhood west of the city center.

The society asserted that the location had been designated by Israel as a “humanitarian area.”

A Palestinian boy rides a bicycle past a destroyed building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 26, 2024.

The strike comes two days after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to end its military offensive in Rafah.

Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, was in Rafah on Sunday and was briefed on the “deepening of operations” there, his office said.

The airstrike was reported hours after Hamas fired a barrage of rockets from Gaza that set off air raid sirens as far away as Tel Aviv for the first time in months in a show of resilience more than seven months into Israel’s massive air, sea and ground offensive.

Hamas’ military wing claimed the attack and rocket launches could be heard in central Gaza, AP reported.

In a statement on its Telegram channel on Sunday, al-Qassam Brigades said the rockets were launched in response to what it called “Zionist massacres against civilians,” Reuters reported.

The Israel Defense Forces said its air defenses intercepted several projectiles after eight rockets were launched from Rafah in the Gaza Strip toward Israel.

The militants have fired projectiles at communities around Gaza during the war, but have not fired longer-range rockets in months.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from what appeared to be the first long-range rocket attack from Gaza since January, the Associated Press reported.

The escalation came hours after aid trucks entered Gaza from southern Israel through a new agreement to bypass the Rafah crossing with Egypt. Israeli forces seized the southern city of Rafah earlier this month. It was unclear if humanitarian groups would be able to access the aid because of the ongoing fighting in the area.

Egypt refuses to reopen its side of the Rafah crossing until control of the Gaza side is handed back to Palestinians. It agreed to temporarily divert traffic through Israel’s Kerem Shalom crossing, Gaza’s main cargo terminal, after a call between U.S. President Joe Biden and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx sbcx

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