War in Gaza: victims, targeted area… what we know about Israel’s deadly strike in Rafah

War in Gaza: victims, targeted area… what we know about Israel’s deadly strike in Rafah
War in Gaza: victims, targeted area… what we know about Israel’s deadly strike in Rafah

An Israeli strike caused numerous victims – at least 35 people killed and dozens of others injured, according to a report from the Hamas authorities that we cannot verify – in a bombing on Sunday evening in Rafah.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians fleeing the fighting since the Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip at the end of October had taken refuge in this area. If the Israeli army claims to have targeted “a Hamas compound” without violating international law, even eliminating two Hamas executives, the Palestinian Red Crescent and the Palestinian presidency assure that it was a refugee camp that was targeted. by the IDF.

What happened ?

Israel admitted that one of its planes had “struck a Hamas compound in Rafah in which important terrorists were operating”, including two leaders of the movement in the West Bank, Yacine Rabia and Khaled Nagar. The IDF said it had “eliminated the Hamas chief of staff in Judea and Samaria as well as another senior Hamas official.”

“The strike was carried out against legitimate targets under international law, through the use of precise munitions and on the basis of precise intelligence indicating the use of the area by Hamas,” she said in a statement.

For its part, the Palestinian presidency and Hamas accused Israel of having committed a “massacre” by targeting a center for displaced people near Rafah. “This atrocious massacre perpetrated by the Israeli occupying forces is a defiance of all international resolutions,” the Palestinian presidency wrote in a statement, accusing Israel of having “deliberately targeted” the Barkasat displaced persons camp, managed by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) northwest of Rafah.

“In light of the horrific Zionist massacre committed this evening by the criminal occupying army against the tents of the displaced, we call on the masses of our people in the West Bank, in Jerusalem, in the occupied territories and abroad to stand up and walk with anger,” wrote the Islamist movement Hamas in a press release.

What is the outcome?

The Palestinian Red Crescent said its ambulances transported “a large number” of people killed or injured in the attack. According to the NGO, this strike “targeted the tents of displaced people near the United Nations headquarters”, where there were many civilians.

The NGO specified that “this place had been designated by the Israeli occupation as a humanitarian zone”. The strike was devastating. Images broadcast showed tents on fire. The strike and the fires that followed could have caused several dozen deaths. Photos and videos showed bodies on the ground, some burned by the flames.

According to the Hamas authorities, in power in the Gaza Strip, at least 35 people were killed and dozens of others injured in this bombing.

The organization Médecins sans frontières indicated, in a press release published on

Strikes in other areas of Rafah were also reported late Sunday. The Kuwaiti Hospital said it had received the bodies of three people, including that of a pregnant woman.

A particular context

The strike came hours after the Israeli military reported eight rockets fired from Rafah, which triggered warning sirens in Tel Aviv and central Israel for the first time in months.

The highest court of the UN, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also ordered Israel on Friday to suspend its military operations in Rafah, where more than 1.5 million refugees were gathered at the start of these operations. If this decision is supposed to be binding, Israel continued these strikes on Saturday and Sunday.

Before this devastating strike, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that he was “firmly opposed” to the end of the war in the Gaza Strip.

The attack on Israeli soil by Hamas commandos on October 7 resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians. In response, the Israeli army launched an offensive in the Gaza Strip, which left more than 35,000 dead, mainly civilians, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health, figures that are impossible to verify.

The Israeli army announced on Sunday the death of two soldiers, bringing to 289 the toll of its soldiers killed since Israeli troops entered Gaza on October 27.

Furthermore, at the end of the day on Sunday, thousands of Israelis participated in the funeral of a hostage, Chanan Yablonka, killed on October 7 and whose body was found on Friday in Gaza. “We have to bring everyone home,” said his sister Avivit Yablonka, before the funeral began.

A dramatic humanitarian situation in Rafah

The Rafah crossing point on the border with Egypt, which allowed the delivery of humanitarian aid, was closed after the launch of the Israeli ground operation. “We are suffering from hunger, thirst and a cruel lack of help,” Moaz Abou Taha, a 29-year-old Palestinian, told AFP.

Currently, Egypt, which refuses to reopen the Rafah crossing as long as Israeli troops control the Palestinian side, announced on Sunday that aid trucks from Egyptian territory have nevertheless begun to enter the Gaza Strip through the Israeli Kerem Shalom crossing point, according to Al-Qahera News. According to this media, a total of “200 trucks” headed towards Kerem Shalom, without specifying how many vehicles had passed checks.

A meeting in Brussels

Last weekend, Israeli media reported that David Barnea, the head of Mossad (Israeli intelligence services), had reached an agreement with CIA Director William Burns and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdelrahmane Al-Thani, on a new framework for negotiations, during a meeting in Paris.

On Tuesday, Spain, Ireland and Norway will officially recognize the State of Palestine. In this context, European Union foreign ministers will meet on Monday in Brussels with their counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, as well as with Secretary general of the Arab League.

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