Death toll from Israeli strikes on Rafah camp rises to 40: Gaza civil defence

GAZA: Gaza’s civil defence agency said on Monday that the death toll from Israeli air strikes on a camp housing displaced Palestinians near

Rafah had risen to 40. “The massacre committed by the Israeli occupation army in the refugee tents northwest of Rafah city in the southern Gaza Strip has

left 40 martyrs and 65 wounded,” Mohammad al-Mughayyir, a senior official at the civil defence agency, told.

“We saw charred bodies and dismembered limbs … We also saw cases of amputations, wounded children, women and the elderly.” He said that rescue efforts were
facing major challenges. “There is a fuel shortage … there are roads that have been destroyed, which hinders the movement of civil defence vehicles in these
targeted areas,” Mughayyir said. “There is also a shortage of water to extinguish fires.”

Israel has kept up operations in Rafah despite a ruling by the top UN court on Friday ordering it to immediately halt its military operations in the overcrowded city, once claimed by Israel to be a safe zone. The spokesman for the health ministry in Gaza, Ashraf Al-Qidra, had earlier said most of the injured were women and children.

The strike took place in Tel Al-Sultan neighbourhood in western Rafah, where thousands of people were taking shelter after many fled the eastern areas of the city where Israeli forces began a ground offensive over two weeks ago. The International Committee of the Red Cross said its field hospital in Rafah was receiving an influx of casualties, and that other hospitals also were taking in a large number of patients.

Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri described the attack in Rafah as a “massacre”, holding the United States responsible for aiding Israel with weapons and money. “The air strikes burnt the tents, the tents are melting and the people’s bodies are also melting,” said one of the residents who arrived at the Kuwaiti hospital in Rafah.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military claimed its air force struck a Hamas compound in Rafah and that the strike was carried out with “precise ammunition and on the basis of precise intelligence.” It said it took out Hamas’ chief of staff for the West Bank and another senior official behind deadly attacks on Israelis.

“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.” Earlier on Sunday, the Israeli military said eight projectiles were identified crossing from the area of Rafah, the southern tip of the Gaza Strip. A number of the projectiles were intercepted, it said. There were no reports of casualties.

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