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21 killed in new Israeli attack on displaced persons camp in West Rafah

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21 Killed In Fresh Israeli Strike On Displacement Camp In West Rafah

Airstrikes and shelling increased overnight on besieged Gaza (representative)

Rafah:

A civil defense official in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip said an Israeli attack on a displaced persons camp west of Rafah killed at least 21 people on Tuesday, days after a similar attack that sparked global outrage.

Mohammad al-Mughayyir said they were killed in an “occupation strike targeting the tents of displaced people west of Rafah.” Hamas said an Israeli attack in the area had left “dozens of martyrs and wounded.”

Palestinian officials said Israeli tanks entered the heart of Rafah despite widespread condemnation over an airstrike on a busy camp in the southern Gaza City that killed 45 people two days earlier.

Israeli tanks were “stationed at the Al-Awda roundabout in the center of Rafah city,” a witness said.

A Palestinian security source said there were tanks in the center of Rafah, where Israeli forces launched a controversial ground attack earlier this month.

“People are currently sitting in their homes because anyone who moves is being shot at by Israeli drones,” said one resident, Abdel Khatib.

With an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council at 1915 GMT due to Sunday’s attack on the displaced persons camp, the situation in Rafah remains tense.

In a statement issued hours before the meeting, the Israeli military said the weapons used in Sunday’s attack “could not” have caused the deadly fire at the Rafah camp.

“Our ammunition alone could not have ignited a fire of this magnitude,” military spokesman Daniel Hagari said.

Sunday evening’s strike, which doctors said also injured hundreds of civilians, drew worldwide condemnation.

The sight of the charred carnage, blackened corpses and children rushed to hospitals prompted UN chief Antonio Guterres to declare that “there is no safe place in Gaza. This horror must stop.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the strike a “tragic accident” but also vowed to continue the campaign to destroy Hamas after the October 7 attack and bring all the hostages home.

More airstrikes and shelling rained overnight on besieged Gaza – including the Tal al-Sultan area where the displaced persons camp went up in flames near a facility of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

“The situation is very dangerous,” said resident Faten Jouda, 30. “We haven’t slept all night. There was indiscriminate bombing from all directions, including artillery bombardments and aerial bombardments, as well as shooting from aircraft.

“We saw everyone fleeing again,” she told AFP. “We too will now go to Al-Mawasi because we fear for our lives,” she said of a nearby coastal area that Israel has declared a safe “humanitarian zone.”

UNRWA said one million civilians have fled Rafah since Israel launched its attack on the city in early May, despite a chorus of international warnings.

“This happened with no safe place to go and amid bombings, lack of food and water, piles of rubbish and unsuitable living conditions,” X said.

Palestinian state

More than seven months after the deadliest Gaza war, Israel has faced increasingly vocal global opposition, as well as lawsuits in two international courts in the Netherlands.

In a historic political step, Ireland, Norway and Spain formally recognized the state of Palestine on Tuesday, a step taken so far by more than 140 UN members but few Western governments.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the recognition was “not just a matter of historical justice… it is also an essential requirement if we all want to achieve peace.”

“It is the only way to move toward the solution that we all recognize as the only possible way to achieve a peaceful future: that of a Palestinian state living in peace and security side by side with the State of Israel.”

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said the aim was to keep hopes alive for peace in the Middle East, and urged Israel to “stop the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza”.

Israel has labeled the recognition as a “reward” for the Islamist Hamas movement and has recalled its diplomatic envoys from Madrid, Dublin and Oslo.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz went further on Tuesday, launching an attack on Sanchez on X, telling him that “you are a partner in inciting genocide against the Jewish people.”

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said the three governments would issue “a coordinated response” to Israel, which he said would be “calm but determined.”

‘Hell on Earth’

The Gaza war was sparked by Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli figures.

Hamas also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 who the army says are dead.

At least 36,096 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Israel’s retaliatory offensive in Gaza, according to the Israeli Health Ministry.

Sunday evening’s attack that killed dozens of people in the displaced persons camp targeted two senior Hamas members, the Israeli army said.

It said planes “hit a Hamas complex” and killed Yassin Rabia and Khaled Nagar, senior officials of the group in the occupied West Bank.

The attack came hours after Hamas fired a barrage of rockets towards Tel Aviv, most of which were intercepted.

The number of civilian casualties in the Gaza camp sparked a wave of condemnation, with Palestinians and many Arab countries calling it a “massacre.”

UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini said on Monday that “last night’s images are proof of how Rafah has turned into a hell on earth.”

EU foreign affairs chief Joseph Borrell said he was “shocked” and French President Emmanuel Macron said he was “outraged”.

A spokesperson for the US National Security Council said Israel must “take every precaution to protect civilians.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)