Israeli airstrike kills dozens in Rafah tent camp, authorities say

Israel is investigating after reports that an airstrike it conducted in Rafah killed dozens of people inside a tent camp for displaced people.

Authorities in Hamas-run Gaza said that at least 45 people were killed and nearly 250 were injured in the airstrike, which Israel said targeted two senior Hamas terrorists. Gazan authorities said the strike hit Rafah’s Tel al Sultan neighborhood and caused fires that ripped through the tent encampment.

Maj. Gen. Yifat Tomer-Yerushalmi, Israel’s top military lawyer, said the incident was “very grave” on Monday and that it was being investigated, according to the Times of Israel.

“The details of the incident are still under an investigation, which we are committed to conducting to the fullest extent,” she said at a conference.

If the death toll is confirmed, the airstrike would mark the deadliest incident in Rafah since Israel began its incursion into the area earlier this month.

The White House’s National Security Council is aware of the situation and is in the process of gathering more information about the strike, an official told Axios.

In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces said that the airstrike was carried out in order to eliminate Hamas targets in the region. It acknowledged reports civilians were harmed and said that the incident is under review.

“The strike was carried out against legitimate targets under international law, using precise munitions and on the basis of precise intelligence that indicated Hamas’ use of the area,” the IDF statement read.

Some 900,000 Palestinians have fled from Rafah this month after the IDF issued evacuation orders for parts of the city earlier this month after Hamas launched an attack from Rafah near a key border crossing that is the primary entry point for humanitarian aid.

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The war in Gaza has been raging since shortly after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack against Israel, which left hundreds of Israeli civilians dead and marked the first invasion of Israeli soil since 1948.

Since then, Israel has sought to eliminate Hamas’s terrorist network, a bloody prospect that has resulted in the deaths of civilians in the densely packed Gaza Strip.

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