IDF Airstrike on Gaza Refugee Camp Kills 20: UN Reports 800,000 Displaced from Rafah

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that several children were among the wounded and that rescue teams were searching for people buried in the rubble

by Sededin Dedovic
IDF Airstrike on Gaza Refugee Camp Kills 20: UN Reports 800,000 Displaced from Rafah
© Ahmad Hasaballah / Getty Images

Twenty people were killed early this morning before dawn in an Israeli airstrike on a house in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central part of the Gaza Strip, which has been devastated during more than seven months of war, reported Al-Aksa hospital and confirmed by eyewitnesses.

"We received 20 deceased individuals and several wounded after an Israeli airstrike targeted a house belonging to the Hasan family in the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza," the hospital statement said, according to AFP.

Eyewitnesses said the attack occurred in the middle of the night, around 3:00 AM local time. The Israeli military stated that it is verifying this report. The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that several children were among the wounded and that rescue teams were searching for people buried under the rubble.

Since the start of the ground offensive on Rafah city in southern Gaza on May 7, clashes around Nuseirat, which is further north, as well as in Gaza City and Jabalia, have intensified. The Israeli military claims it conducts only targeted operations.

Eyewitnesses said explosions were heard and that fighting in Jabalia lasted all night. In northern Gaza, artillery fire was heard in the Sheikh Zayed area, and in the south, near the Egyptian border, eyewitnesses reported that Israeli tanks opened fire east of Rafah city.

The Arab Al-Ahli hospital reported that three people were killed and several wounded in an Israeli attack on a school where they had taken refuge. The United Nations stated that 800,000 Palestinians have been forced to flee Rafah amidst the Israeli military offensive in that city in southern Gaza.

"Around 800,000 people are on the move, having been forced to flee since Israeli forces began a military operation in that area on May 6," said Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), on the platform X.

"Every time, they are forced to leave behind some of the belongings they have, mattresses, tents, cooking utensils, and basic supplies they cannot carry, and pay for transport. Every time they have to start again," wrote Lazzarini.

He added that people are fleeing to areas without water supplies. Israel claims that Rafah, where four intact Hamas battalions are deployed, remains a major stronghold of this Palestinian Islamist organization, which it considers a terrorist group.

IDF Tanks move in formation before attack© Amir Levy / Getty Images

It also believes that many of the remaining 124 hostages, who were kidnapped by Palestinian extremists led by Hamas on October 7 last year, when they breached the border and infiltrated southern Israeli territory from Gaza, are held in Rafah.

Since the conflict erupted in other parts of Gaza, 1.3 million people, more than half the population of the besieged enclave, have fled to Rafah and its surroundings. The U.S. and other Israeli allies have warned Israel not to start an offensive without a credible plan for evacuating the population, fearing a humanitarian catastrophe.

The Israeli military announced today that its soldiers found the bodies of three hostages taken by Hamas during an attack on southern Israel, including Shani Louk, who held both German and Israeli citizenship. Photos of the distorted body of the 22-year-old Shani in the back of a truck were shown worldwide, revealing the extent of the attack on settlements in southern Israel.

The military stated that the bodies of 28-year-old Amit Buskila and 56-year-old Yitzhak Gellerentter were also found. Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari said that all were killed by Hamas at the Nova music festival near the Gaza border and that their bodies were taken to Palestinian territory.

The military did not immediately reveal details and did not say where the bodies were found, reported Associated Press. Palestinian extremists led by Hamas killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapped more than 250 hostages on the first day of the war.

About half of the hostages have since been released, mostly in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel during a week-long ceasefire in November. Israel believes around 100 hostages are still held in Gaza, along with the bodies of another thirty people.

In the war against Hamas that erupted following the attack by Palestinian extremists, more than 35,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to Gaza's health ministry. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that his heart breaks over the news of the discovery of the bodies of the three hostages and that he and his wife Sara mourn with the families, Israeli media reported.

Netanyahu promised that Israel would bring back all its hostages, both alive and deceased, and praised what he called the "brave forces that decisively brought our sons and daughters home," Israeli media reported. Shani Louk's father stated that although the news of the body's discovery was hard to receive, it was what the family had been waiting for, as they had long been informed that she was killed.