Global Outrage as Israeli Airstrike on Rafah Tents Kills 40, Including Children

Several countries and global organisations have condemned the Israeli air attack on tents housing displaced people in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah, which killed at least 40 Palestinians, including many children.

On Monday, the Palestinian presidency accused Israel of deliberately targeting civilians, joining a chorus of worldwide condemnation following the attack.

“The perpetration of this heinous massacre by the Israeli occupation forces is a challenge to all international legitimacy resolutions,” the Palestinian presidency said in a statement, accusing Israeli forces of “deliberately targeting” the tents of displaced people.

In a statement on X, the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) said the images from Rafah are yet another testament that Gaza is “hell on earth”.

Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri called the attack a “massacre”, holding the United States responsible for aiding Israel with weapons and money.

A group of Palestinians are seen putting out a fire at the site of the Israeli attack in Rafah. Credit: Mohammed Salem / Reuters
A group of Palestinians are seen putting out a fire at the site of the Israeli attack in Rafah. Credit: Reuters

Israel’s top military prosecutor described the attack as “very grave” and said an investigation will be conducted. “The details of the incident are still under an investigation, which we are committed to conducting to the fullest extent,” Major-General Yifat Tomer Yerushalmi told a news conference, adding that the Israeli army “regrets any harm to non-combatants during the war”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that a “tragic mistake” had been made.

“Despite our utmost efforts not to harm innocent civilians, last night, there was a tragic mistake,” Netanyahu said in an address to Israel’s parliament. “We are investigating the incident and will obtain a conclusion because this is our policy.”

The Wafa news agency, citing the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), said the dead included women and children, with many “burned alive” inside their tents, according to Al Jazeera.

One of the residents who arrived at the Kuwaiti Hospital in Rafah said the “tents were melting and the people’s bodies are also melting” after the attack.

Qatar condemned the Rafah attack as a grave violation of international laws that will worsen the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Credit: Good Morning America/ABC
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Credit: Good Morning America/ABC

Egypt condemned the “deliberate bombardment.” In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on Israel to “implement the measures ordered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) concerning an immediate cessation of military operations” in Rafah.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country would do “everything possible” to hold “barbaric” Netanyahu accountable for the deadly strikes. “We will do everything possible to hold these barbarians and murderers accountable who have nothing to do with humanity,” he said.

Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said the bombing of Rafah was “one more day with innocent Palestinian civilians being killed.” He said the gravity of the attack “is even larger” because it comes after the ICJ order directing Israel to halt its operation in Rafah and the rest of Gaza.

Ireland’s Foreign Minister Micheal Martin described the attack as “barbaric.” “One cannot bomb an area like that without shocking consequences in terms of innocent children and civilians. We would urge Israel to stop, to stop now, in terms of the military operation in Rafah.”

Norway’s Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said the attacks are a “material breach of the decision of the highest court of the world.” He added: “We’ve had a compulsory order from the International Court of Justice ordering Israel to stop its attack in Rafah. It is compulsory. It’s binding.”

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