Israeli airstrike in Rafah sparks international condemnation

An Israeli airstrike on a tent camp in Rafah, Gaza, ignited a fire that killed 45 people, according to officials on Monday, prompting widespread condemnation from global leaders who called for adherence to a World Court order to cease Israel’s offensive.

Palestinian families hurried to hospitals to prepare their deceased for burial after the strike late Sunday night, which set ablaze tents and makeshift shelters.

The Israeli military, engaged in a campaign to dismantle Hamas in Gaza, announced an investigation into reports that its strike targeting commanders of the Islamist militant group in Rafah had caused the fire.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted that the operation did not aim to harm civilians. “In Rafah, we had already evacuated about 1 million non-combatant residents, and despite our utmost efforts to avoid non-combatant casualties, something tragically went wrong,” he stated in a parliamentary speech, which was interrupted by opposition lawmakers’ protests.

Survivors recounted that families were preparing to sleep when the strike hit the Tel Al-Sultan neighborhood, where thousands had taken refuge after Israeli forces initiated a ground offensive in eastern Rafah over two weeks ago.

Health officials in Hamas-controlled Gaza reported that more than half of the casualties were women, children, and elderly people, noting that the death toll could rise due to severe burns.