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ConflictsMiddle East

25 killed in strikes on camp near Rafah, Gaza ministry says

June 22, 2024

Officials and witnesses in Gaza said Israeli shelling killed at least 25 people in a camp for displaced Palestinians, with the Red Cross reporting similar deaths and injuries. Israel said it was reviewing the situation.

Israeli soldiers and tanks seen in the dust outside Rafah, Gaza
Witnesses claim Israeli tank fire hit the camp, the IDF says that is not trueImage: Jim Hollander/UPI Photo/Newscom/picture alliance

The Gaza Health Ministry on Friday said at least 25 people had been killed and another 50 injured in what authorities labeled an Israeli attack on a tent camp in Muwasi, near Rafah city, in the southern Gaza Strip.

The Health Ministry operates under the control of Hamas officials but the United Nations considers the figures published by the ministry broadly reliable. 

Eyewitnesses said Israeli forces shelled the camp, in an area just outside an Israeli-designated safe zone and where thousands have fled since Israel launched its Rafah offensive in May.

The Israeli military said the incident was under review but that "there is no indication that a strike was carried out by the IDF [Israel Defense Forces]" inside the humanitarian safe zone. 

Red Cross denounces attack on camps near office

The International Red Cross (ICRC) in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories condemned the strike, saying it landed near its Gaza office and residences.

"This grave security incident is one of several in recent days; previously stray bullets have reached ICRC structures," it said in a statement on the platform X, formerly Twitter.

"We decry these incidents that put the lives of humanitarians and civilians at risk," it said, stressing that parties to the conflict "have an obligation to take all feasible precautions to avoid harm to civilians and damage to civilian objects."

The ICRC said that the Red Cross field hospital had registered 22 deaths and 45 injuries from the attack, with reports of additional casualties.

Israel vows to keep fighting despite international criticism over Gaza death toll

Despite months of growing international pressure and tens of thousands of deaths, Israel has vowed to continue its Gaza offensive until Hamas — designated a terrorist organization by Israel, the US, Germany and others — is wiped out.

International observers have pleaded for an end to the fighting, which started after an October 7 Hamas-led attack on Israel that resulted in the deaths of nearly 1,200 people and saw some 250 kidnapped.

The Gaza Health Ministry says Israel has killed more than 37,000 people since it launched its retaliatory offensive. The Israeli military claims it is trying to avoid civilian casualties.

More than a million of Gaza's original 2.2 million residents are currently in and around Rafah, seeking shelter from fighting.

The UN and other organizations have called on Israel to pause its offensive, pointing to the dire humanitarian situation in the enclave. 

sdi, js/fb,rm (AP, dpa)