Israeli Forces Shell Displaced Palestinians in Rafah, Killing 25 and Injuring 50 Amid Escalating Gaza Conflict

On Friday, Israeli forces shelled tent camps for displaced Palestinians near Rafah in southern Gaza, killing at least 25 people and injuring 50, according to Gaza’s health officials and emergency workers. This incident is part of a series of deadly attacks in the Gaza Strip, where many have fled due to ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas.

Less than a month earlier, an Israeli bombing caused a deadly fire in a southern Gaza camp, drawing significant international condemnation, including from some of Israel’s allies, regarding the military’s escalating actions in Rafah.

Eyewitnesses reported that Israeli forces fired a second round of shells at people who emerged from their tents near a Red Cross field hospital north of Rafah.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) stated that the hospital was overwhelmed with casualties, including 22 dead and 45 wounded, and criticized the use of “high-caliber projectiles” close to the facility. The area is densely populated with tents housing displaced individuals, including many hospital staff members, as per the ICRC.

Israeli Forces Shell Displaced Palestinians in Rafah, Killing 25 and Injuring 50 Amid Escalating Gaza Conflict
Israeli Forces Shell Displaced Palestinians in Rafah, Killing 25 and Injuring 50 Amid Escalating Gaza Conflict

Ahmed Radwan, a spokesperson for Civil Defense first responders in Rafah, mentioned that witnesses described the shelling at two coastal locations filled with makeshift tents. The Health Ministry in Gaza provided the casualty figures.

The attack sites reported by Civil Defense and the Red Cross hospital are just outside an Israeli-designated safe zone on the Mediterranean coast known as Muwasi. The Israeli military is investigating the incident but denied targeting the safe zone without specifying the intended targets.

Israel maintains that it targets Hamas fighters and infrastructure, striving to minimize civilian casualties, but blames Hamas for operating within civilian areas.

With the conflict now in its ninth month, international criticism over the high civilian toll in Gaza is mounting. The United Nations’ top court has suggested a “plausible risk of genocide” in Gaza, a claim that Israel denies.

The attack near the Red Cross hospital began with a non-lethal munition that made a loud noise and bright flash, followed by a more deadly strike.

Mona Ashour recounted how her husband was killed when he went to check on the initial noise, only for a second, more lethal projectile to strike. Similarly, Hasan al-Najjar’s sons were killed while helping people after the first strike, showing the lethal nature of the subsequent attacks.

The ICRC emphasized that the hospital’s location is well-known and marked with the Red Cross emblem. The facility was set up in mid-May to provide critical medical services.

Despite Israel’s ongoing invasion of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians sought refuge, the United Nations reports that no place in Gaza is safe, with humanitarian conditions deteriorating rapidly.

Civil Defense teams also reported casualties in northern Gaza, with additional deaths from airstrikes in Gaza City. Amidst this, the Israeli military reported the deaths of two soldiers in central Gaza, contributing to the ongoing and extensive loss of life in the region.

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