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40 killed as Israeli strikes set tents ablaze

Published : Monday, 27 May, 2024 at 5:04 PM  Count : 338

40 killed as Israeli strikes set tents ablaze

40 killed as Israeli strikes set tents ablaze


Gaza's civil defence agency said Monday that the death toll had risen to 40 from overnight Israeli strikes that set ablaze tents of displaced Palestinians in Rafah, an attack that sparked condemnation across the Arab world, reports AFP.

Israel's army said the air strikes late Sunday, hours after a rocket attack had targeted Tel Aviv, had killed two senior Hamas operatives, and that it was investigating the reports of civilians killed in a fire.
The Israeli attack sparked strong protests from Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and from Qatar which warned it could "hinder" budding steps to revive stalled truce and hostage release talks in the Israel-Hamas war raging since October 7.

Gaza's civil defence agency said Monday that many bodies were "charred" after the strikes triggered a fire that ripped through a displacement centre in northwest Rafah.

"The massacre committed by the Israeli occupation army in the refugee tents northwest of Rafah city in the southern Gaza Strip has left 40 martyrs and 65 wounded," said agency official Mohammad al-Mughayyir.

"We saw charred bodies and dismembered limbs ... We also saw cases of amputations, wounded children, women and the elderly."

Footage released by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society showed chaotic night-time scenes of paramedics in ambulances racing to the fiery attack site and evacuating the wounded, including children.

"We had just done with the evening prayers," recalled one survivor, a Palestinian woman who declined to be named.

"Our children were asleep ... suddenly we heard a loud sound and there was fire all around us. The children were screaming ... the sound was terrifying."

The ICRC said that one of its field hospitals was receiving an "influx of casualties seeking care for injuries and burns" and that "our teams are doing their best to save lives".

AFP images after sunrise showed the charred remains of makeshift tents and vehicles as Palestinian families looked at the blackened destruction.

Israel's army had said overnight that its aircraft had "struck a Hamas compound in Rafah", killing Yassin Rabia and Khaled Nagar, both senior officials for the Palestinian militant group in the occupied West Bank.

It added that it was "aware of reports indicating that as a result of the strike and fire that was ignited, several civilians in the area were harmed. The incident is under review."

Mughayyir said the rescue efforts were hampered by war damage and the impacts of Israel's siege on the territory amid the over seven-months-old conflict.

"There is a fuel shortage ... there are roads that have been destroyed, which hinders the movement of civil defence vehicles in these targeted areas," he said. "There is also a shortage of water to extinguish fires."

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