Home » Gaza Health Ministry Reports Rising Death Toll in Rafah Massacre

Gaza Health Ministry Reports Rising Death Toll in Rafah Massacre

by Mohammed Ahmed
Gaza Health Ministry Reports Rising Death Toll in Rafah Massacre

The Gaza Health Ministry announced on Monday that the death toll from recent Israeli airstrikes on a displacement camp near Rafah has increased to 40, with 65 others wounded. The strikes targeted a camp housing displaced Palestinians, marking a severe escalation in the ongoing conflict.

Mohammad al-Mughayyir, a senior official at the civil defense agency, described the devastating scene: “We saw charred bodies and dismembered limbs… We also saw cases of amputations, wounded children, women, and the elderly.” Mughayyir highlighted the difficulties faced by rescue teams, including fuel shortages and destroyed roads that hinder the movement of civil defense vehicles. Additionally, there is a shortage of water to extinguish fires, complicating rescue efforts further.

The strikes have continued despite a ruling from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordering Israel to halt its military operations in Rafah, which was previously considered a safe zone by Israeli authorities. The spokesman for the health ministry in Gaza, Ashraf Al-Qidra, stated that most of the injured were women and children.

The strike occurred in the Tel Al-Sultan neighborhood in western Rafah, a refuge for thousands who had fled the eastern parts of the city due to an Israeli ground offensive that began over two weeks ago. The International Committee of the Red Cross reported a significant influx of casualties at its field hospital in Rafah, with other hospitals also overwhelmed by the number of patients.

Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri condemned the attack as a “massacre” and blamed the United States for providing Israel with weapons and financial support. “The air strikes burnt the tents, the tents are melting and the people’s bodies are also melting,” said a resident who reached the Kuwaiti hospital in Rafah.

The Israeli military claimed that its air force struck a Hamas compound in Rafah using precise ammunition based on reliable intelligence. It stated that the operation targeted Hamas’s chief of staff for the West Bank and another senior official responsible for deadly attacks on Israelis. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) acknowledged reports of civilian casualties resulting from the strike and subsequent fire, stating that the incident is under review.

Earlier on Sunday, the Israeli military reported that eight projectiles were launched from Rafah, several of which were intercepted. No casualties were reported from these attacks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his war cabinet on Sunday to discuss ongoing operations in Rafah. Israel maintains that the ICJ’s ruling allows for certain military actions in the area. In a statement on its Telegram channel, the Hamas al-Qassam Brigades claimed the rocket launches were in response to “Zionist massacres against civilians.”

Rafah, situated about 100 kilometers south of Tel Aviv, has become a focal point in Israel’s efforts to eliminate Hamas fighters and rescue hostages allegedly held in the area. However, the assault has exacerbated the plight of civilians, drawing international outcry.

Local medical services reported that at least five Palestinians were killed in Rafah on Sunday, identified as civilians by the Gaza health ministry. Israeli tanks have made incursions into the edges of Rafah but have not fully entered the city since the start of the current operations.

Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz stated that the rockets fired from Rafah underscore the necessity for IDF operations in all areas where Hamas operates. Defence Minister Yoav Gallant conducted an operational assessment in Rafah, focusing on the dismantling of Hamas battalions both above and below ground.

Itamar Ben Gvir, a hardline public security minister, urged the military to intensify its operations in Rafah. “Rafah with full force,” he posted on X.

The Gaza Health Ministry reports that nearly 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in the ongoing Israeli offensive, which was launched in response to a Hamas attack on southern Israeli communities on October 7, resulting in around 1,200 Israeli deaths and over 250 hostages taken.

The conflict has also continued in northern Gaza, particularly in Jabaliya, where intense combat persists. The Israeli military reported finding a weapons storage site at a school in Jabaliya and denied Hamas claims of abducting an Israeli soldier. Meanwhile, Hamas media reported that an Israeli airstrike on a house near Jabaliya killed 10 people and wounded others.

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