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Israeli Attack on Rafah Tent Camp Kills Dozens, Wounds 50

The attack follows bombings that killed dozens of Palestinians and injured hundreds around Rafah late last month.

Displaced Palestinians mourn during a funeral ceremony for their relatives after Israeli airstrikes killed 25 and injured 50 people at Al-Nasr Hospital in al-Mawasi neighborhood of Rafah, Gaza, on June 21, 2024.

The Israel Defense Forces on Friday yet again shelled tents of displaced Palestinians near the city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 25 and wounding another 50, local health and emergency officials said.

“According to Ahmed Radwan, a spokesperson for Civil Defense first responders in Rafah, witnesses told rescue workers about the shelling at two locations in a coastal area that has become filled with tents,” The Associated Press reported.

“The locations of the attacks provided by the Civil Defense appear to be just outside an Israeli-designated safe zone,” the news agency noted. “The Israeli military said the episode was under review but that ‘there is no indication that a strike was carried out by the IDF’ inside the safe zone, using an acronym for the Israeli forces. It did not offer details on the episode or say what the intended targets might have been.”

The AP shared firsthand accounts from survivors of the Al-Mawasi attack, as did Al Jazeera:

“We had just eaten and were about to sleep and take some rest, and the next we knew was the sound of resounding explosions destroying our places! We find ourselves alone not knowing what to do. We still can’t process what happened!” a survivor told Al Jazeera.

“Oh Lord, look at us, oh world, see our condition. There are a lot of injured still inside. We are no longer able to do anything. What is happening to us? The fire is consuming us from every direction.”

Another survivor said that “today, before the afternoon, a bomb was thrown near the Red Cross. My husband went out after hearing the sound of the explosion. The second bomb was near the Red Cross building. All the young men went there because some people were injured.”

“My husband went, and I looked for him but couldn’t find him,” the witness added. “Everyone was forced to flee in their clothes without taking their belongings. Some people took us with them in their car. We don’t know what happened after that.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross in Israel and the occupied territories announced on social media Friday that “the ICRC office—which is surrounded by hundreds of displaced civilians living in tents—was damaged by nearby shelling in Gaza” that the group said “caused a mass casualty influx” at its hospital, which received 22 of those killed and 45 of the people injured.

The Friday attack follows a pair of bombings that killed dozens of Palestinians and injured hundreds in and near Rafah late last month. Like with the attacks last month — which analyses suggest involved U.S.-supplied weaponry — there were swift calls for the Biden administration and other governments to cut off support for the Israeli assault on the Hamas-governed enclave.

“Israel has run out of buildings, schools, and hospitals to bomb and is once again targeting displaced civilians in tents,” said AJ+ senior editor Kareem Yasin. “Any Western government excusing or denying these intentional attacks is complicit.”

The Israeli war on Gaza — launched after the Hamas-led October 7 attack on Israel — has killed more than 37,430 Palestinians and injured over 85,650 others, according to local officials. Survivors face devastated civilian infrastructure and limited food, water, shelter, and medical supplies, as Israel limits the flow of humanitarian aid.

South Africa is leading a genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant as well as three Hamas leaders.

“They’ve done it again,” U.S.-based policy analyst Omar Baddar said of Israel Friday. “Nearly every day for the past 260 days, Israel has committed another massacre against Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Fathers, mothers, siblings, children, their bodies burnt or torn apart, while our government gives more weapons for these atrocities.”

Even before October 7, the United States gave Israel billions of dollars in annual military aid — but such support has increased during the war. U.S. President Joe Biden previously called an Israeli assault on Rarah a “red line,” but as the IDF has killed Palestinians in and around the Gaza city, the White House has signaled that his boundary has not yet been crossed.

Biden “must stop sending weapons to Israel,” Nina Turner, a senior fellow at the Institute on Race, Power, and Political Economy, declared in response to the Friday attack. “This is egregious.”

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