Deadly Israeli Airstrike in Rafah Sparks global Outcry

On May 26, 2024, Israel launched an air strike on the Tel Al Sultan area in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza. The airstrike, supposedly targeting a Hamas compound, caused a fire in a nearby tent encampment, resulting in multiple deaths. The strike has led to the deaths of at least 45 people, with more than half of the victims being children, women, and the elderly. The strike hit the Tel al-Sultan area, where thousands of people sheltered, and it happened when most of them were about to sleep. The Palestinian Authority condemned the bombing, accusing Israel of war crimes and urging international involvement to protect Palestinian citizens.

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Aftermath of the encampment fire caused by the Israeli airstrike

UNRWA’s commissioner-general, Philippe Lazzarini, stated that some of the agency’s staff are “unaccounted for” and many civilians were injured. Also, Israeli tanks have been spotted in the city amidst a ground operation that has been met with a global backlash. French President Emmanuel Macron expressed horror, while the Italian government stressed that the fighting must cease. Likewise, the UK foreign secretary lord Cameron resumed calls for a ceasefire and a deal to get the hostages out and get aid to those that remained.  


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Israeli tanks patrolling the streets of Rafah

Israel’s  statement

Following the devastation, the Israeli defence forces released a statement saying that the airstrike was aimed at a compound the Hamas had been using for operations in the city. The IDF suggested that hidden munitions might have caused a secondary explosion, which triggered the fire that destroyed the civilian encampment. Furthermore, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the strike as a regrettable incident but justified it as part of ongoing efforts against Hamas. 


Reactions from the international community

United Nations:

The United Nations has raised serious concerns about the humanitarian impact of the ongoing military operations in Rafah. The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) emphasised the devastating consequences for nearly 1.5 million people in Rafah. They called for an immediate ceasefire and the release of hostages.


European Union:

The EU has urged all parties to show restraint and comply with international humanitarian law. They have underlined the importance of granting humanitarian access and safeguarding civilians in conflict areas. Discussions are also going on about possible sanctions against Israel. 

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United States:

The US government described the deaths in Rafah as tragic but insisted that Israel did not cross a “red line.” The US also initiated the construction of a temporary port off Gaza to facilitate humanitarian aid​.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have asked for an impartial inquiry into the strike. in addition, they emphasize accountability and the protection of human rights in Gaza. After the airstrike, Hamas launched several rocket attacks towards Israel; this marked the first long-range attack from Gaza in the last few months. 

However, Israel continues its assault despite a court decision from the highest UN court to halt it. Israel believes that the verdict allows for military activities. 



Content Credit/ Ajibola Emmanuel Adebayo

Picture Credit/ 1.



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