Home conflict, war and peace Anger over second Israeli strike

Anger over second Israeli strike

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The sight of the charred carnage, blackened corpses and children being rushed to hospitals led UN chief Antonio Guterres to declare “there is no safe place in Gaza, this horror must stop”.

Twenty-one people had been killed in an “occupation strike targeting the tents of displaced people west of Rafah, days after a similar strike that set ablaze a crowded camp in Gaza’s far-southern city, killing 45 people according to Palestinian officials, and sparking global outrage. Picture: AFP

GAZA’S civil defence agency said an Israeli strike killed at least 21 people at a displacement camp west of the southern city of Rafah Tuesday, days after a similar strike that set ablaze a crowded camp in Gaza’s far-southern city, killing 45 people according to Palestinian officials, and sparking global outrage.

Mohammad al-Mughayyir, a senior official at the agency, said 21 people had been killed in an “occupation strike targeting the tents of displaced people west of Rafah”. Palestinian militant group Hamas also said an Israeli strike had caused “dozens of martyrs and wounded” in the area.

Israeli tanks were “stationed on the al-Awda roundabout in the centre of the city of Rafah,” a witness said. A Palestinian security source confirmed tanks were in the centre of Rafah where Israeli troops launched a controversial assault earlier this month.

Sunday evening’s camp strike, which Gaza medics said also left hundreds of civilians with shrapnel and burn wounds, drew condemnation from world leaders and was set to be discussed at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

The sight of the charred carnage, blackened corpses and children being rushed to hospitals led UN chief Antonio Guterres to declare “there is no safe place in Gaza, this horror must stop”.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the strike a “tragic accident” but also vowed to push on with the military campaign to destroy Hamas over the October 7 attack and bring home all the hostages.

More air strikes and shelling rained down overnight on besieged Gaza –including Rafah’s Tal al-Sultan area where the displacement camp went up in flames near a facility of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

“The situation is very dangerous,” said one resident, Faten Jouda, 30.

“We didn’t sleep all night. There was random bombing from all directions, including artillery shelling and air bombardment and firing from aircraft.

“We saw everyone fleeing again. We too will go now and head to al-Mawasi because we fear for our lives,” she said, referring to a nearby coastal area Israel has declared a safe “humanitarian zone”.

UNRWA said one million civilians had fled Rafah since Israel launched its assault on the city in early May despite a chorus of international warnings.

“This happened with nowhere safe to go and amid bombardments, lack of food and water, piles of waste and unsuitable living conditions,” the UN agency said. “Day after day, providing assistance and protection becomes nearly impossible.”

More than seven months into the bloodiest ever Gaza war, Israel has faced ever louder international opposition, as well as cases before two international courts based in the Netherlands.

In a landmark political move on Tuesday, Ireland, Norway and Spain formally recognised the State of Palestine, a step so far taken by over 140 UN members but few Western governments.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on national television that “recognition of the State of Palestine is not only a matter of historic justice … it is also an essential requirement if we are all to achieve peace”.

“It is the only way to move towards the solution that we all recognise as the only possible way to achieve a peaceful future: that of a Palestinian state living side by side with the State of Israel in peace and security.”

Israel has slammed the announced move as a “reward” for the Islamist Hamas movement that rules Gaza, and earlier recalled its diplomatic envoys from Madrid, Dublin and Oslo.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz went further on Tuesday and launched an attack on Sanchez on X, telling him that “you are a partner to incitement to genocide of the Jewish people”.

He also drew a parallel between Spanish minister Yolanda Diaz on the one hand and Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Hamas Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar on the other, following her call for a free Palestine “from the river to the sea”.

Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares said the three governments would “issue a co-ordinated response” to Israel’s angry reaction which he said would be “calm but firm”.

The Sunday night attack that killed dozens in the displaced persons camp was targeting two senior Hamas members, the Israeli military said.

Israel’s army said its aircraft “struck a Hamas compound” and killed Yassin Rabia and Khaled Nagar, senior officials for the militant group in the occupied West Bank. The strike came hours after Hamas had fired a barrage of rockets at the Tel Aviv area, most of which were intercepted.

The resulting civilian toll in Gaza prompted a wave of condemnation, with Palestinians and many Arab countries calling it a “massacre”.

Philippe Lazzarini, head of UNRWA, said on Monday that “the images from last night are testament to how Rafah has turned into hell on Earth”.

Cape Times

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