May 26, 2024 - World

Israeli airstrike kills dozens in Rafah tent camp, Gaza authorities say


A destroyed building in Rafah. Photo: Eyad Baba/AFP via Getty Images

An Israeli airstrike killed at least 35 Palestinian civilians at a tent camp for displaced people in the city of Rafah, according to health authorities in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

Why it matters: This is the deadliest incident in Rafah since Israel began its offensive in the city in early May. It took place just days after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to immediately halt military operations in Rafah.

Driving the news: The airstrike led to a wide-ranging fire at the tent camp. Videos circulating on social media showed burned bodies being taken out of the compound.

  • The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that an Israeli aircraft conducted an air strike in the area and claimed the target was a Hamas compound in Rafah "in which significant Hamas terrorists were operating."
  • Later, the IDF said it killed a Hamas official named Yasin Rabia who was in charge of the group's military activity in the West Bank, as well as one of his deputies.

What they're saying: "The strike was carried out against legitimate targets under international law, using precise munitions and on the basis of precise intelligence that indicated Hamas' use of the area," the IDF said in a statement.

  • The IDF added that it was 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."
  • A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said: "We're aware of the reports about the incident in Rafah and gathering more information."
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