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Israeli shelling kills 30, injures 50 in Palestinian tent camps

Israeli shelling kills 30, injures 50 in Palestinian tent camps Fire rages following an Israeli strike on an area designated for displaced Palestinians, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, May 26, 2024. (Reuters)
By Newsroom
Jun 21, 2024 9:55 PM

Israeli forces shelled tent camps housing displaced Palestinians north of Rafah on Friday, resulting in at least 30 fatalities and 50 injuries, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry and emergency responders.

The attack marks the latest deadly incident in the densely populated Palestinian territory, where conflict between Israel and Hamas has forced hundreds of thousands to seek refuge.

Ahmed Radwan, spokesperson for Civil Defense first responders in Rafah, stated that witnesses informed rescue workers about the shelling occurring at two locations in a coastal area now filled with tents. The Health Ministry confirmed the casualties from the attacks.

The shelling occurred just outside a zone designated as safe by Israeli authorities. The Israeli military acknowledged the strikes and stated they were investigating the reported coordinates. Previous bombings by Israel have targeted areas near the “humanitarian zone” in Muwasi, a rural area along the Mediterranean coast that has seen an influx of sprawling tent camps in recent months.

The strikes occurred as Israel continued its military operations in Rafah, where more than a million Palestinians had sought refuge from conflict elsewhere in Gaza. Most residents have since fled Rafah, but the United Nations has highlighted the perilous humanitarian conditions across Gaza, emphasizing that no area is safe as families shelter in tents and crowded apartments lacking adequate food, water, and medical supplies.

Friday’s shelling follows less than a month after an Israeli airstrike triggered a deadly fire at a displaced persons camp in southern Gaza, drawing condemnation from international quarters, including some of Israel’s closest allies.

As Israel’s conflict with Hamas extends into its ninth month, global criticism mounts over Israel’s extensive military actions in Gaza, which have exacted a heavy toll on civilian lives.

The international community has expressed growing concern over what some view as a campaign of systematic destruction. The United Nations has raised the alarm over conditions in Gaza, with the International Court of Justice recently suggesting a “plausible risk of genocide,” a charge Israel vehemently denies.

According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, Israeli ground offensives and bombardments have resulted in more than 37,100 deaths, with the ministry not distinguishing between combatants and civilians in its casualty count. Israel launched its military campaign following an October 7 attack by Hamas, who entered southern Israel, resulting in the deaths of approximately 1,200 people, predominantly civilians, and the abduction of about 250 individuals.

Meanwhile, exchanges of fire between Israel and Hezbollah escalated along the Lebanon border. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for firing dozens of rockets at an Israeli barracks in northern Israel in retaliation for an earlier airstrike in southern Lebanon, which resulted in the death of a Hezbollah operative. Israel responded with airstrikes on Hezbollah sites and utilized artillery in southern Lebanon.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned against further escalation, emphasizing the risk of catastrophic consequences. “Increased bellicose rhetoric” from both sides, he cautioned, could lead to unimaginable devastation.

The United States has called for de-escalation amidst the mounting tensions, with fears among experts that the conflict could broaden beyond its current scope, which has already seen nearly nine months of Israeli efforts to suppress Hamas in Gaza and confront Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Last Updated:  Jun 22, 2024 9:03 AM