Israeli attack on Palestinian tents in Rafah spurs international outrage as death toll reaches 45


The Palestinian Civil Defence in Gaza says the death toll from an overnight Israeli attack on the tents of displaced Palestinians in Rafah has risen to 45 as the attack sparks condemnation across the Arab and Western world.

In scenes grimly familiar from a war in its eighth month, Palestinian families on Monday rushed to hospitals to prepare their dead for burial after the Sunday night attack set tents and rickety shelters ablaze. Women wept as men held prayers beside bodies in shrouds.

“The whole world is witnessing Rafah getting burned up by Israel and no one is doing anything to stop it,” Bassam, a Rafah resident, said via a chat app, of the attack in an area of western Rafah that had been designated a safe zone.

The attack took place in the Tal As-Sultan neighbourhood, where thousands were sheltering after Israeli forces began a ground offensive in the east of Rafah more than two weeks ago.

Many of the dead were women and children, the health officials said, adding that the death toll was likely to rise as some injured people with severe burns were in critical condition.

Israel has kept up attacks on Rafah despite a ruling by the top United Nations court on Friday ordering it to stop, arguing that it grants it some scope for military action there.

The Israeli army said the air raids that came hours after rockets were fired towards Tel Aviv killed two senior Hamas operatives, and that it was investigating the reports of civilians killed in Rafah.

Gaza’s Civil Defence said many bodies were “charred” after the attack caused a fire that ripped through the camp. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said one of its field hospitals received an “influx of casualties seeking care for injuries and burns” and that “our teams are doing their best to save lives”.

The Israeli attack led to strong protests from Egypt, Qatar, Jordan and Kuwait, which warned it could “hinder” budding steps to revive stalled ceasefire talks. Al Jazeera.

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