Israel Conducts New Strikes in Rafah Amid Global Outcry

Wed May 29 2024
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RAFAH: On Wednesday, Israel launched additional airstrikes in Rafah, a southern city in Gaza, as its military continued to engage Hamas militants. This action followed an urgent United Nations Security Council meeting convened to discuss a previous attack that resulted in significant international condemnation.

Despite growing concerns over the high civilian casualties, Israel remains resolute in its military campaign against Hamas. Efforts for a  ceasefire have so far been unsuccessful. AFP journalists in Rafah documented new strikes early Wednesday, just hours after reports surfaced of Israeli tanks penetrating deep into the city.

U.S. President Joe Biden has cautioned Israel against escalating its military operations in Rafah. Nevertheless, on Tuesday, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby stated that Israel had not yet breached any U.S. red lines. “We have not seen them smash into Rafah,” Kirby said.

On Tuesday, a civil defense official in Gaza reported that an Israeli strike on a displacement camp west of Rafah killed at least 21 people. This follows a similar attack over the weekend, which ignited a fire in a displacement camp, killing 45 people and sparking a global outcry. Israel’s military denied responsibility for the Tuesday strike, asserting that it had not targeted the designated humanitarian area in Al-Mawasi.

Sunday’s deadly strike outside Rafah drew widespread condemnation, with images of the destruction and casualties leading UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to declare, “There is no safe place in Gaza. This horror must stop.”

The UN Security Council met again on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing conflict. Algeria, which requested the emergency session, proposed a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire and an end to Israel’s offensive in Rafah.

Amid the conflict, nearly one million civilians have fled Rafah since Israel’s assault began in early May, according to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate, with the World Health Organization warning of severe health impacts if the offensive persists.

The Gaza war, which began after Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel, has resulted in over 1,100 Israeli civilian deaths and taken a heavy toll on Gaza’s population with over 36,000 killed mostly women and children.

The international community continues to urge for a peaceful resolution, but the path to ceasefire remains fraught with challenges.

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