Israel kills 45 women and children in Rafah tent camp massacre

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Tents ablaze in the Tal as-Sultan district of Rafah after bombing by Israeli forces on Sunday night

ISRAELI forces bombed a camp housing displaced people in a designated ‘safe zone’ in Rafah on Sunday night, killing at least 45 Palestinians, most of them women and children.

A survivor who arrived at the Kuwaiti Hospital in Rafah said the ‘tents were melting and the people’s bodies were also melting’.

Witnesses described the massacre in the camp in Rafah’s Tal as-Sultan area. Majed al-Attar, a displaced person from Beit Lahiya said he lost five members of his family. ‘We were sitting in tents, and suddenly the camp was bombed. I lost five people from my family, all of whom were completely burned. Among those killed were pregnant women.’

Mahmoud al-Attar, also a displaced person from east Rafah, said: ‘They told us that this area is safe. We left the area east of Rafah to the west of the city, thinking that there is safety, but now there is no safe place in Gaza. There are massacres everywhere.

‘We hope that the international community will stand with us to stop this war. I lost my brother and every day I lose one, why all these losses? We are living this massacre a day after the decision of the International Criminal Court to demand that Israel stop the operation in Rafah.’

The attack was carried out by US-supplied heavy bombs, which ripped the victims to shreds.

A paramedic said: ‘We retrieved a large number of child martyrs from the Israeli bombardment, including a child without a head and children whose bodies have turned into fragments.’

Mohammad al-Mughayyir, a senior official at Gaza’s civil defence agency, said: ‘We saw charred bodies and dismembered limbs. We also saw cases of amputations, wounded children, women and the elderly.’

The Gaza Government Media Office said that US-made 2,000-pound bombs were used during the attack – which the Israeli military claims was carried out in accordance with international law.

Hamas held US president Joe Biden and his administration fully responsible, saying: ‘This massacre would not have been committed by the Zionist entity without the American support and green light for its invasion of Rafah, even though this area is crowded with displaced citizens.’

The Islamic Jihad Movement said: ‘The targeting of civilians in shelter camps reflects the depth of the military failure that has afflicted the enemy in the battlefield.’

The Palestinian presidency said: ‘The perpetration of this heinous massacre by the Israeli occupation forces is a challenge to all international legitimacy resolutions.’

The attack has triggered an international outcry.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: ‘We will do everything possible to hold these barbarians and murderers accountable who have nothing to do with humanity.’

Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said it was ‘one more day with innocent Palestinian civilians being killed.’

Ireland’s Foreign Minister Micheal Martin said: ‘One cannot bomb an area like that without shocking consequences in terms of innocent children and civilians.’

Norway’s Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said: ‘We’ve had a compulsory order from the International Court of Justice ordering Israel to stop its attack in Rafah. It is compulsory. It’s binding.’

French President Emmanuel Macron said: ‘There are no safe areas in Rafah for Palestinian civilians. I call for full respect for international law and an immediate ceasefire.’

Qatar said it’s a ‘grave violation of international laws’.

US-based advocacy group Jewish Voice for Peace said: ‘We will never forget the images emerging from Rafah tonight. Human beings, including babies, were burned alive and torn apart. This genocide must end, it must end now.

‘We hold the US government, in addition to the Israeli government, responsible for the slaughter of over 36,000 Palestinians, for the siege and starvation of Palestinians in Gaza, and for mass destruction of infrastructure and land.

‘We demand an end to all US funding to the Israeli military now. People of conscience throughout the world are calling for an end to genocide.’

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