Israel faces international condemnation over deadly strike on Gaza tent city

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28th May 2024 – (Gaza) Israel has come under intense scrutiny after a strike hit a tent city for displaced Palestinians in Gaza, resulting in the deaths of 45 individuals. The incident has provoked widespread condemnation and calls for Israel to prioritise the protection of civilians. The strike occurred amidst the ongoing Gaza war that has been ongoing since 7th October, escalating tensions in the region.

Adding to the already heightened atmosphere, Israeli and Egyptian militaries reported a shooting incident in the border area between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip, resulting in the death of an Egyptian guard. Both forces have launched investigations into the incident.

Israel’s military stated that the strike in the southern Rafah area on Sunday evening targeted and killed two senior Hamas operatives. However, the strike also triggered a devastating fire that was denounced by Palestinians and numerous Arab countries as a massacre.

The international community has voiced its concerns, with a spokesperson from the US National Security Council emphasizing the need for Israel to take every possible precaution to protect civilians. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres took to social media, expressing his distress over the situation and calling for an end to the horror. The UN Security Council has scheduled an emergency session on Tuesday to discuss the attack.

Survivors recounted the horrifying scene, describing charred bodies, dismembered limbs, and wounded children, women, and the elderly. The strike ignited a fire that tore through the displacement center, causing chaos and panic among those seeking refuge.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the incident, referring to it as a tragic accident and assuring the government’s commitment to investigating the matter. However, his speech was disrupted by relatives of captives held in Gaza, who demanded action to secure their loved ones’ release.

The strike in Rafah came in response to a barrage of rockets launched by Hamas towards the Tel Aviv area, most of which were intercepted by Israeli defenses. Israel’s army reported that the strike targeted a Hamas compound and resulted in the deaths of Yassin Rabia and Khaled Nagar, senior officials of the militant group in the occupied West Bank.

The international community, including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, strongly condemned the attack, with some accusing Israel of ongoing war crimes and violations of international law. The African Union chair also criticised Israel’s actions and highlighted a recent International Court of Justice ruling ordering an end to military action in Rafah.

The recognition of a Palestinian state by Spain, Ireland, and Norway, set to take place on Tuesday, further escalates tensions. Israel opposes this move and has already announced punitive measures against Madrid, including ordering its consulate in Jerusalem to stop offering services to Palestinians.