Thursday, June 20, 2024
Thursday, June 20, 2024
HomeWorldNetanyahu Calls Deadly Airstrike in Rafah a 'Tragic Mistake'

Netanyahu Calls Deadly Airstrike in Rafah a ‘Tragic Mistake’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an Israeli airstrike that killed at least 45 Palestinians over the weekend a “tragic mistake” and ordered an investigation into the civilian deaths on Monday.

The strike hit the Tal al-Sultan neighborhood of Rafah, targeting a humanitarian zone with tents where Israel’s military had previously instructed displaced Palestinians to seek shelter. The Gaza Health Ministry said the strike killed mostly women and children. The Israeli military claimed it had targeted and killed two senior Hamas leaders.

“Despite our utmost efforts not to harm innocent civilians, last night, there was a tragic mistake,” Netanyahu said in a speech to Israel’s parliament. “We are investigating the incident and will obtain a conclusion, because this is our policy.”

Gaza health officials said many victims were trapped in the rubble, and the death toll might rise.

The strike was widely criticized, including by the White House. A National Security Council spokesperson called the attack “heartbreaking” and emphasized that while Israel has a right to target Hamas, it must protect civilians. The U.S. is working with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to assess the incident.

French President Emmanuel Macron called for a ceasefire, stating that there are no safe areas for civilians in Rafah and urging respect for international law.

This incident happened just days after the United Nations’ International Court of Justice ordered Israel to stop its operations in Rafah. President Biden warned Israel that he would stop military aid if Israel invaded Rafah without a U.S.-approved plan to limit civilian casualties.

Read More: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu Rejects ICC Prosecutor’s Arrest Bid

More than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million population are believed to be sheltering in Rafah, with over 80 percent of Gaza’s population displaced. The U.N. reported famine in parts of the region as people struggle to get humanitarian aid.

On Sunday, more than 120 aid trucks entered Rafah from Egypt, the first since Israel seized the crossing earlier this month. However, it was unclear if local aid groups could access the supplies due to ongoing fighting.

Southern Gaza, including Rafah, has been mostly cut off from aid since the Israeli military began its operation earlier this month. An American-built floating pier has started delivering some aid, but aid groups say it is insufficient and there aren’t enough trucks to distribute the supplies.

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