Rafah Refugee Camp Devastated by Israeli Strikes: Death Toll Rises to 45

The southern Gaza city of Rafah has been the target of Israeli strikes, resulting in a significant number of casualties. The strikes have been particularly devastating for the Rafah refugee camp, where the death toll has risen to 45, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

The strikes occurred overnight and resulted in the deaths of 22 people, including 18 children. The first strike claimed the lives of a man, his wife, and their 3-year-old child. The woman was pregnant at the time of the strike, but doctors were able to save the baby. The second strike resulted in the deaths of 17 children and two women, all members of the same extended family.

The Israeli military has been conducting near-daily air raids on Rafah, where over half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million has sought refuge from the fighting elsewhere. Despite international calls for restraint, Israel has vowed to expand its ground offensive to the city on the border with Egypt.

The conflict, now in its seventh month, has sparked regional unrest, pitting Israel and the U.S. against Iran and allied militant groups across the Middle East. Tensions have also spiked in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where Israeli troops killed two Palestinians who the military says attacked a checkpoint with a knife and a gun near the southern West Bank town of Hebron.

The strikes have drawn global condemnation, with world leaders urging Israel to follow a UN court ruling to stop its offensive. The attack on the camp in Tal as-Sultan came after Israeli forces bombed shelters housing displaced Palestinians in other areas including Jabalia, Nuseirat, and Gaza City, killing at least 160 others, according to Palestinian officials.

The Israeli military claimed in a statement that it struck “a compound in Rafah in which significant Hamas terrorists were operating,” and said it is aware of reports of civilian harm following the strike and fire. It said one of its aircraft used “precise munitions” to strike the target based on “intelligence that indicated Hamas’ use of the area.”

Hamas issued a statement holding the US administration and President Joe Biden personally accountable for the attack. It said Israel would not have carried out the strikes “without American support and the green light for it to invade Rafah, despite its overcrowding with displaced citizens.”

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