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Dozens of Gazans killed as Israel targets camp for displaced Palestinians

Medical sources and officials have reported that a fatal attack took place in the southern Gaza city of Rafah on Sunday, resulting in the loss of dozens of lives and causing injuries to numerous others. According to reports from the Gaza Media Office, the incident was in close proximity to the logistics base of UNRWA, where many displaced individuals and homes were targeted by Israel.

Agencies and A News MIDDLE EAST
Published May 27,2024
(File Photo)

At least 35 people were killed and dozens injured as Israel targeted a camp for displaced people and houses in the southern Gaza city of Rafah on Sunday, said medical sources and officials.

The attack occurred near the logistics base of the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in Tal al-Sultan, said the Gaza Media Office.

Israeli aircraft targeted several tents in the area, the media office said, adding that missiles and 2,000-pound bombs were used.

Earlier, Gaza's civil defense force said it transported 50 people, including dead and injured, after the bombing. The targeted area sheltered at least 100,000 displaced people, it said.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society in a brief statement said its ambulance crews were moving the victims to nearby medical centers.

The attack led to fires engulfing the area, which are still raging, according to witnesses.

"We retrieved a large number of child martyrs from the Israeli bombardment, including a child without a head and children whose bodies have turned into fragments," a Palestinian paramedic told Anadolu.

"The Rafah massacre is a clear message from Israel to the ICJ and the international community that attacks against civilians in Gaza continue," said the media office in its statement, referring to the International Court of Justice.

The office further noted that at least 190 Palestinians had been killed and injured in the last 24 hours due to the Israeli army's targeting of more than 10 shelters for displaced people in the Gaza Strip.

The army had previously identified the camp it bombed in Rafah as being "within the safe zones where displaced people were urged to head."

The Israeli army admitted late Sunday that there were civilian casualties in the attack it launched on Rafah.

The army claimed in a statement that "recently, aircraft attacked a Hamas compound in Rafah."

"As a result of the attack and the outbreak of a fire in the area, a number of uninvolved individuals were injured, and the incident is under review," it said.

Following the massacre, Israeli warplanes bombed two homes in the city, resulting in five fatalities and multiple injuries.

This raised the death toll from Israeli airstrikes on Rafah Sunday evening to 35, with dozens more injured, according to Palestinian medical sources.

The Palestinian group Hamas condemned the bombing.

"The horrific massacre committed by Israel in Rafah a short while ago is a blatant challenge, complete disregard, and defiance of the ICJ's decision, which demanded it to stop its aggression on Rafah," it said.

"In a horrifying war crime, the criminal Zionist occupation army committed a heinous massacre against displaced citizens in tents this evening in an area crowded with hundreds of thousands of displaced people that was declared safe."

"We hold the US administration and President (Joe) Biden, in particular, fully responsible for this massacre, which the Zionist entity would not have committed without American support and the green light for it to invade Rafah, despite it being overcrowded with displaced citizens," it said.

"We demand the immediate and urgent implementation of the ICJ's decisions and pressure to stop this massacre and the shedding of innocent civilians' blood, including children, women and the elderly," it added.

Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh also slammed the Israeli army's deliberate targeting of the tents of displaced people in Rafah, the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

He stressed "the urgent need for intervention to stop the crimes committed against the Palestinian people immediately."

"The Israeli occupation forces' commission of this heinous massacre is a challenge to all the resolutions of international legitimacy, particularly the lucid and candid ruling of the ICJ ordering Israel to cease its military offensive against the city of Rafah and provide protection to the Palestinian people," said Abu Rudeineh.

"The US positions supporting the occupation financially and politically were the main reason for the hideous massacres committed by the occupation, in violation of all taboos," he added.

Israel has killed nearly 36,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct. 7 last year, which killed around 1,200 people.

The military campaign has turned much of the enclave of 2.3 million people into ruins, leaving most civilians homeless and at risk of famine.

The attack comes despite a ruling by the International Court of Justice that ordered Israel to halt its offensive in Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.