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Rafah camp bombing sparks international condemnation

By JAN YUMUL and MIKE GU in Hong Kong | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-05-28 09:42

Mourners react next to the bodies of Palestinians killed in an Israeli strike in Rafah, Gaza Strip, on Monday. Mohammed Salem / REUTERS

Israel's heavy bombing of a camp housing displaced people in a designated "safe zone" in Rafah on Sunday has killed dozens of Palestinians, with reports of women and children being "burned alive". This has sparked renewed international outcry and condemnation, leading to calls for an immediate cease-fire.

The attack killed at least 40 civilians, Palestine's WAFA news agency reported, while some Western media, citing ActionAid UK, reported the death toll had risen to 50.

The Arab Parliament, the legislative body of the Arab League, issued a statement on Monday on its website saying the "massacre of the occupation entity" at a camp for internally displaced people near Rafah "is a blatant challenge and violation of humanitarian law and requires urgent international intervention".

The statement said the failure to hold Israel accountable for its crimes and the massacres it commits against the Palestinians makes it continue to kill and destroy, WAFA reported.

Posting on X, the Israel Defense Forces said its aircraft "struck a Hamas compound in Rafah", where "significant Hamas terrorists were operating" on Sunday.

"The IDF is aware of reports indicating that as a result of the strike and fire that was ignited several civilians in the area were harmed. The incident is under review," it said.

Francesca Albanese, the United Nations special rapporteur on the human rights situation in the West Bank and Gaza, said on X that even as the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to stop its offensive in Rafah, Israel continues to intensify "its attacks on it".

Major General Yifat Tomer-Yerushalmi, Israel's military prosecutor, said they were committed to conducting the probe "to the fullest extent" of the Rafah incident, according to a report by Al Jazeera.

Omar Awadallah, Palestine's assistant foreign minister for the UN and Specialized Agencies, told China Daily that they were working with the International Criminal Court and the ICJ to "ask countries to act", as well as working toward a resolution at the UN Security Council.

"From the Security Council, we want a resolution that calls to end immediately the Israeli aggression and the attacks and operations, vicious operations against our Palestinian people," said Awadallah, who is also in charge of overseeing Palestine's affairs at the ICJ.

"Israel is acting as a state that is not compatible with international law and a state that is against international law. It thinks that it is above the international law because of the impunity granted to it by the US."

Medecins Sans Frontieres said in a post on X that it was "horrified by this deadly event", which showed once again that "nowhere is safe".

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