Israeli strikes on Rafah kill 22 including a pregnant woman and 18 children

AP , Ahram Online , Sunday 21 Apr 2024

Israeli strikes on the southern Gaza city of Rafah overnight killed 22 people, including 18 children, health officials said Sunday, as the United States was on track to approve billions of dollars of additional military aid to Israel, its close ally.

A Palestinian man wait for news of his daughter as rescue workers search for survivors under the rubble of a building hit in an overnight Israeli bombing in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 21, 2024. AFP


The first Israeli strike in Rafah killed a man, his wife, and their 3-year-old child, according to the nearby Kuwaiti Hospital, which received the bodies. The woman was pregnant and the doctors managed to save the baby, the hospital said.

The second strike killed 17 children and two women, all from an extended family, according to hospital records. Mohammed al-Beheiri said his daughter, Rasha, and her six children, the youngest 18 months old, were among those killed. Her husband's second wife and their three children were still under the rubble, al-Beheiri said.

An airstrike in Rafah the night before killed nine people, including six children.

Israel has carried out near-daily air raids on Rafah, where more than half of Gaza's population of 2.3 million has sought refuge from fighting elsewhere. It has also vowed to expand its ground offensive to the city on the border with Egypt despite international calls for restraint, including from the US.

The $26 billion aid package approved by the House of Representatives on Saturday includes around $9 billion in humanitarian assistance for Gaza, which experts say is on the brink of famine. The Senate could pass the package as soon as Tuesday, and President Joe Biden has promised to sign it immediately.

At least 13 people were killed, including seven children, and more than 25 injured after a strike targeted Al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza on Tuesday, according to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital officials.

Graphic video, obtained by CNN from eyewitness Nihad Owdetallah, shows several casualties scattered on the floor, including children, with blood streaming around the area.

The video shows dozens of people running around in panic, screaming and trying to carry the dead bodies. A foosball table covered in dust is seen among the dead bodies, CNN reported.

Video from inside a morgue at the hospital shows families trying to identify their loved ones among the deceased. Owdetallah, who lives in the camp, told CNN he heard an explosion at around 3:40 pm local time on Tuesday around 30 to 40 meters away from him.

“I immediately walked to see what happened and found dead bodies thrown on the ground. People screaming, kids screaming. Kids dead on the ground. They were just playing foosball, and they were martyred,” he said.

Footage shot for CNN from inside Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital shows a continuous flow of casualties and injured people being ushered in, as the emergency room is crowded with patients, including several wounded children, crying out on the floor. Family members are seen crowding over their loved one’s dead bodies, kissing them, holding onto them, and sobbing.

Israel has killed over 34,000 Palestinians, according to health officials, devastated Gaza's largest cities, and left a swath of destruction across the territory.

Around 80 percent of the population have fled their homes to other parts of the besieged coastal enclave, which experts say is on the brink of famine.


Hindering fuel delivery to hospitals

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that humanitarian convoys have been unable to deliver fuel to hospitals in the Gaza Strip due to Israeli obstacles.

In a tweet on its X account, the UN office announced that two-thirds of the coordinated humanitarian missions in Gaza are facing obstacles or delays by Israeli occupation authorities. On average, it said, each mission encountered delays of at least five hours before being allowed to proceed.

As a result, vital supplies, equipment, and fuel for backup generators in hospitals have not been delivered.

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