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'Anyone who moves is being shot at by Israeli drones': Rafah residents hide as Israel strikes again

The UN Security Council is scheduled to discuss the war again today.

ISRAEL HAS CARRIED out even more strikes in the southern Gaza city of Rafah today after the UN Security Council met to discuss the deadly attack at the weekend that sparked global outcry.

Despite mounting concern over the civilian toll of its war on Hamas, Israel has shown no sign of changing course and international efforts aimed at securing a ceasefire remain stalled.

AFP journalists in Rafah reported new strikes early today, hours after witnesses and a Palestinian security source said Israeli tanks had penetrated the heart of the city.

“People are currently inside their homes because anyone who moves is being shot at by Israeli drones,” resident Abdel Khatib said.

US President Joe Biden has warned Israel against launching a major military operation in Rafah but his administration insisted yesterday that Israel had not yet crossed its red lines.

“We have not seen them smash into Rafah,” said the US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

A civil defence official in Gaza said an Israeli strike on a displacement camp west of Rafah yesterday killed at least 21 people, after a similar fatal strike over the weekend sparked global outrage and prompted an emergency UN Security Council session.

Israel’s army rejected allegations that it had carried out yesterday’s strike in a designated humanitarian area.

“The (Israel army) did not strike in the humanitarian area in Al-Mawasi,” the army said in a statement, referring to an area that had been designated for displaced people of Rafah to shelter.

On Sunday, an Israeli strike outside Rafah ignited an inferno in a displacement camp, setting makeshift shelters on fire and killing 45 people, according to Palestinian officials.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the strike a “tragic accident” while the army said it had targeted a Hamas compound and killed two senior members of the group.

The military later claimed the weapons it had used “could not” have caused the deadly camp blaze.

“Our munition alone could not have ignited a fire of this size,” Daniel Hagari, a spokesman for the Israeli army, said ahead of yesterday’s emergency UN session on the strike.

Algeria, which called the urgent meeting, said it had presented a draft resolution to Security Council members calling for an end to Israel’s offensive in Rafah and an “immediate ceasefire,” according to a draft text seen by AFP.

The UN Security Council is scheduled to discuss the war again today.

The US has suspended aid deliveries into Gaza by the sea after its temporary pier was damaged by bad weather.

The World Health Organisation said Israel’s military offensive in Rafah was already taking a dire health toll in southern Gaza, and if it continues, “substantial” increases in deaths could be expected.

“There are currently 60 WHO trucks (in Egypt) waiting to get into Gaza,” said Rik Peeperkorn, WHO representative in the Palestinian territories, adding that only three trucks with medical supplies had entered since May 7.

On the diplomatic front, Egypt has “intensified efforts to relaunch” negotiations for a “truce and a detainee exchange deal”, the state-linked Al-Qahera News reported.

© AFP 2024