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Israel’s Netanyahu calls civilian deaths in Rafah ‘tragic mishap'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday a deadly strike that hit a displacement camp in Gaza's Rafah was a "tragic incident" which his government was "investigating".

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

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday called the death of dozens of Palestinian civilians in an Israeli airstrike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip a "tragic mishap."

At least 45 people, mostly women and children, were killed and nearly 250 others injured in an Israeli strike on a camp for displaced people in Rafah on Sunday.

Speaking at the Knesset (Israel's parliament), Netanyahu claimed that the civilian deaths occurred as Israeli forces targeted Hamas members in Rafah.

"Despite our efforts not to hurt them, there was a tragic mishap. We are investigating the incident," Netanyahu claimed.

The Israeli premier vowed to continue the war on Gaza despite international outcry.

"I don't intend to end the war before every goal has been achieved," he said.

Netanyahu denied accusations that his government was not negotiating in good faith to reach a hostage swap deal with Hamas.

"Those who say they are not ready to stand up to the pressure raise the flag of defeat; I won't raise any such flag, I will keep fighting until the flag of victory is raised," he said.

Netanyahu made his remarks as families of hostages gathered at the visitors' gallery in the Knesset holding up pictures of captives held by Hamas.

Sunday's attack in Rafah occurred near the logistics base of the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in Tal al-Sultan, according to Gaza's government media office.

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

An Israeli government spokesman claimed early Monday that a preliminary investigation showed that Palestinian civilians were killed by a fire that broke out in Rafah after the Israeli strike.

The attack has triggered a wave of condemnations from around the world amid accusations for Israel of defying calls to halt its deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip.

Israel has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians in the besieged enclave 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 (ICJ) 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.