May 28, 2024

Israeli Strike on Rafah Triggers UN Emergency Meeting

Rafah Strike Site
RevBlogTranscriptsAirstrikeIsraeli Strike on Rafah Triggers UN Emergency Meeting

At least 45 people were killed and 200 were wounded in an Israeli strike on a camp for displaced people in Rafah on Sunday. Read the transcript here.

Speaker 1 (00:00):

Guy Hedgecoe in Madrid. Well, Israel has continued to bombard Rafah in Southern Gaza despite international condemnation over a strike that set off fires at a refugee camp. Eyewitnesses have, in the last hour or so, told Reuters several Israeli tanks have reached the center of Rafah. Medics say at least 45 people were killed and hundreds more were treated for severe burns, fractures and shrapnel wounds on Sunday night. The United Nations Security Council will convene a closed-door emergency meeting on Tuesday. The UN Secretary-General António Guterres, has condemned the attack saying, “The horror must stop.” There have been appearing before the Knesset, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called it, “A tragic mishap.” The Israeli army says the airstrike killed two senior members of Hamas at a compound nearby and has launched an investigation. The UK Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron, says, “An investigation must be swift, comprehensive and transparent.” Our Middle East correspondent Yolande Knell is in Jerusalem and has the latest on the fighting in Rafah.

Yolande Knell (01:06):

The UN’s already called for full and transparent investigation into that deadly airstrike on Sunday night, which killed at least 45 people in tents in a camp for displaced people and injured something like 250 in a large blaze after the Israeli airstrikes there targeting, the Israeli military says, to Hamas commanders in that area. Now what we’ve been seeing overnight is more artillery shelling, more Israeli airstrikes, and that is sending people, particularly in the West of Rafah, where there weren’t these Israeli evacuation orders issued earlier in Israel’s military operations in Rafah. We’ve had people really fleeing, taking to the streets with all of their possessions, piling them up in carts and in their cars and trying to find a place to stay further to the north.

People heading to places that are already crowded with displaced people like Khan Younis and Deir al-Balah, more in the center of the Gaza Strip. Now really there has been so many expressions of shock and outrage of what happened on Sunday night. The Israeli Prime Minister called this, “A tragic mishap.” The Israeli military says it’s investigating what happened. There have been some reports in the US media, but quoting unnamed Israeli officials suggesting that perhaps it could have been some shrapnel, part of the precise munitions the Israeli military says it was using there that ignited a fuel tank and caused this catastrophic blaze.

Speaker 1 (02:44):

But Benjamin Netanyahu also vowing to continue the war against Hamas. How much pressure is he under from the international community versus at home from people within his government?

Yolande Knell (02:58):

I mean, look, there’s a huge amount of international pressure. Israel finds itself more and more isolated on the world stage after we had that International Court of Justice ruling last week calling for an end to military activities in Rafah of this deadly strike that followed on. But domestically, although we are seeing continuing protests, particularly by supporters and families of the hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza, people very worried about the implications that all of this could have for efforts to try to get new talks going indirectly between Israel and Hamas on a new ceasefire and hostage release deal. But the message from the Israeli government has very much been that Israel must protect its national security. It sees Rafah as a stronghold of Hamas and says that as operations in Rafah remain quite limited, it is pushing, we can see, towards the west and now has control of a large area of the Gaza-Egypt border.

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