July 19, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Israeli strike on Rafah camp: 40 dead. International reaction

The death toll from an Israeli strike on a camp in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, has risen to 40, according to a new report. Egypt condemned “deliberate bombing” displaced persons' tents, and Jordan called it “war crimes“.

Humanitarian groups said they were “horrified” by an Israeli strike on tents housing displaced people in the Rafah camp in southern Gaza, which killed at least 45 people, according to new data.

Gaza's health ministry said the victims included at least 23 women, children and the elderly. “We are horrified by the deadly attack, which once again shows that there is no safe place in Gaza,” Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said.

“More proof that Gaza is hell on Earth”

The UN Palestine Refugee Agency (UNRWA) said of the “horrifying attacks”: “There are reports of mass casualties, including among children and women. Gaza is hell on Earth. The footage from last night is further proof of this.”

Gaza's health ministry on Monday raised the total number of confirmed dead since the start of Israel's military offensive to at least 36,050, while the number of injured stands at 81,026.

Israel continues military operations in the south of the Gaza Strip, despite the decision of the International Court ordering it to immediately stop the offensive, the head of the foreign ministry said EU Josep Borel. Speaking before the monthly meeting of EU foreign ministers, Borel also accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of using false accusations of anti-Semitism against the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his own political gain.

Israel seizes the Rafah crossing separating the Gaza Strip from Egypt

Videos have appeared online of Israeli tanks driving into the border checkpoint. In another video taken from the Egyptian side, sounds of fighting can be heard.

The crossing has not been controlled by Israel since 2005 and was the only land point through which Gaza's Palestinians were connected to the outside world without going through Israel.

Egypt: deliberate bombing of tents

Egypt, in turn, announced “deliberate bombing” of “displaced persons tents” in Rafah. Earlier, Hamas announced that the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees center in the vicinity of Rafah had been attacked, calling it “horrific massacre”.

Qatar has warned that Israel's latest attack on Rafah could hamper mediation efforts to reach a ceasefire and exchange of hostages and prisoners, its foreign ministry said in a statement. “These actions are war crimes that must be addressed by the international community to ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their actions,” – Sufian Kuda, spokesman for the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he “outraged” recent Israeli strikes on Rafah, which have killed dozens of displaced people. “These operations must stop. There are no safe zones for Palestinian civilians in Rafah.”Macron said in an interview with X.

“Violence against civilians in Gaza can no longer be justified” – Italy emphasized, subjecting the Israeli campaign to the harshest criticism.

“There is an increasingly complex situation in which the Palestinian people are being oppressed without regard for the rights of innocent men, women and children who are not affiliated with Hamas, and this can no longer be justified,” – said Defense Minister Guido Croseto in an interview with SkyTG24.

Saudi Arabia also condemned the attack

Gaza: Amnesty International calls for an investigation into three bombings that killed 32 children.
Israel: 'Very serious' incident. However, the Israeli army stated that its air force struck a Hamas camp and that the attack was carried out using “high-precision and reconnaissance ammunition.”

The attack killed Yassin Rabia and Khaled Nagar, senior members of the Palestinian organization in the occupied West Bank, the French news agency reported. He added that he… was aware of reports that the strike and resulting fire had injured several civilians in the area, and that “The incident is under investigation.”

Later on Monday, Israel's chief military prosecutor announced “very serious” airstrike in Rafah. “The details of the incident are still under investigation and we intend to conduct a full investigation.”said Lieutenant General Yifat Tomer Yerushalmi, speaking at a conference organized by the Israel Bar Association. “The Israel Defense Forces regrets any damage caused to unarmed people during the war.”she added.

The international community calls for the implementation of the decision of the International Court of Justice

However, since the strike on the Rafah camp, international calls have intensified for compliance with a UN Supreme Court resolution adopted last week calling for an end to Israeli operations in the city.

Egypt's Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling on Israel to “comply with the measures taken by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding the immediate cessation of military operations” in Rafah, on Gaza's border with Egypt. The ICJ ruling must be implemented, Borel said ahead of a meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers' Council, adding that he would also seek a political decision to launch a special assistance mission on the Rafah border, known as EUBAM.

Reviving the EU's Rafah border assistance mission will take some time, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schalenberg said today, telling reporters that the mission, originally created in 2005, has been in “hibernation” for the past few years.

“We want the Rafah crossing to be reopened”noted Schalenberg

The ICJ ruling is binding and must be respected, German Foreign Minister Annalena Bärbock said ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Alvarez also said he would ask the other 26 European Union member states to provide formal support for the International Court of Justice and take steps to ensure that Israel respects its decisions.

“I will ask the remaining 26 partners to express support for the International Court and its decision, and also, if Israel continues to act contrary to the opinion of the court, we will try to take appropriate measures to implement the decision,” he said from Brussels during a joint press conference with his counterparts from Ireland and Norway.

ICC prosecutor: “We cannot have double standards”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry, in turn, called on the Spanish Consulate in Jerusalem to stop serving Palestinians as of June 1 in response to Madrid's recognition of a Palestinian state.

From June 1, the Spanish Consulate in Jerusalem “will be able to provide consular services exclusively to residents of the Jerusalem consular district and (will not) have the right (…) to carry out consular activities on behalf of residents of the Palestinian Authority,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Today I introduced preliminary punitive measures against the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem after the Spanish government recognized the Palestinian state” – said Israeli Minister Israel Kanj. “We will not tolerate damage to Israel's sovereignty and security” – he explained.

Last week, Spain, Ireland and Norway announced their decision to recognize the state of Palestine as of May 28, prompting a sharp reaction from Israel.

Also last week, Spanish Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz wrote in X that “Palestine will be liberated from the river to the sea” condemning “genocide of the Palestinian people”.

According to Reuters, AFP.

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