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Israel strikes Rafah as pressure mounts over war in Gaza

By Chris Lau, Aditi Sangal, Maureen Chowdhury, Heather Chen and Helen Regan, CNN

Updated 11:15 p.m. ET, May 27, 2024

What we’re coveringGlobal condemnation is mounting over Israel’s Sunday airstrike on a camp for displaced people in Rafah that killed at least 45 people, many of whom were women and children.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the strike, which his military said killed two senior Hamas officials, a “tragic mistake.

The strike came days after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to halt its offensive in the city, adding to the unprecedented level of diplomatic pressure that Netanyahu is facing over the war in Gaza.Qatar said Israel’s strike could “hinder” negotiations aiming for the release of hostages and reaching a ceasefire, which are set to resume Tuesday. Here’s how to help humanitarian efforts in Gaza and Israel.

Global outrage mounts after “horror” of Israeli strike on Rafah camp comes to light. Here’s the latest

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Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike where displaced people were staying in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Monday, May 27, 2024. Palestinian health workers said Israeli airstrikes killed at least 35 people in the area. Israel’s army confirmed Sunday’s strike and said it hit a Hamas installation and killed two senior Hamas militants. (AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi)

From CNN staff

International outcry is mounting over Israel’s airstrike on a camp for displaced Palestinians in Rafah that killed at least 45 people and wounded 200 others, many of whom were women and children.

In response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the strike a “tragic mistake” and said that Israel was investigating the incident.

Footage obtained by CNN showed the camp in flames, with scores of men, women and children frantically trying to find cover from the nighttime assault. Burned bodies, including those of children, could be seen being pulled by rescuers from the wreckage.

The strike came days after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to halt its offensive in the city, and several humanitarian organizations have called on the UN Security Council to enforce the court’s orders, saying “immediate action is required.”A growing list of countries, world leaders and aid agencies have now condemned the strike, saying “there is no safe space in Gaza.”

Here’s some of the international reactions:

  • “Horror must stop”: UN chief Antònio Guterres issued a blistering condemnation. There is no safe place in Gaza. This horror must stop,” he said. The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting to discuss the strike on Tuesday, according to a UN diplomat.
  • “Abomination”: UN relief chief Martin Griffiths criticized Netanyahu’s response to the attack. “Whether the attack was a war crime or a ‘tragic mistake’ for the people of Gaza, there is no debate. What happened last night was the latest – and possibly most cruel – abomination,” Griffiths said.
  • “Unbearable”: French President Emmanuel Macron said he was “outraged” by the strikes and called for a ceasefire. Germany described the “images of charred bodies, including children, from the airstrike” as “unbearable.” The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said Israel must implement the ICJ ruling. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the strike a “massacre” and said his country “will do everything” in its power to hold Israeli officials accountable.
  • “Heartbreaking”: A US National Security Council spokesperson said the strike was “heartbreaking,” adding that the United States was “actively engaging” with officials in Israel to determine what happened. The spokesperson also said “Israel has a right to go after Hamas, and we understand this strike killed two senior Hamas terrorists who are responsible for attacks against Israeli civilians.”
  • “Complete disregard for the lives of civilians”: Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) strongly denounced the strike and called for an “immediate and sustained ceasefire” in Gaza. MSF said the airstrike on the camp “shows the complete disregard for the lives of civilians.” MSF nurse activity manager Gaia Giletta said from Gaza that “we are shocked by the continuous attacks on civilians, and we have no word to describe the horror of what we’ve seen here.”
  • “Hell on earth”: “The images from last night are a testament to how Rafah has turned into hell on earth,” said Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). The scenes from Rafah last night are harrowing, Lazzarini said, and some victims “were reportedly burnt to death.”
  • Strike could “hinder” negotiations: Qatar said Israel’s strike on the Rafah camp could “hinder” negotiations aiming for the release of hostages and reaching a ceasefire in Gaza. The Qatari foreign ministry said the strike is a “serious violation of international laws” and expressed concern that it “would complicate the ongoing mediation efforts.”

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