Israel must 'take every precaution possible' to protect civilians: US

AFP , Monday 27 May 2024

The United States said Monday Israel must make every possible effort to avoid civilian casualties, following a deadly strike that hit a displacement camp in Rafah, which the Palestinian health ministry said killed at least 45 people and wounded another 249.

Destruction after an Israeli strike in Rafah
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 45 people in the area. AP

Israel is facing a wave of international condemnation over the strike, both across the region and from the European Union, France, and the United Nations.

"As we've been clear, Israel must take every precaution possible to protect civilians," a US National Security Council spokesperson said in a statement.

"We are actively engaging the IDF and partners on the ground to assess what happened," the spokesperson added.

Gaza's civil defense agency said the strike ignited a fire that tore through a displacement center of the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), in northwestern Rafah.

"The devastating images following an IDF strike in Rafah last night that killed dozens of innocent Palestinians are heartbreaking," the NSC spokesperson said.

The Israeli military said it had launched a probe into the strike which it said was carried out based on "precise intelligence information" about two Hamas militants who it claimed were killed.

The NSC spokesperson said that "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," before imploring more caution.

Since October 7, Israel has been conducting a brutal military campaign on the Gaza Strip, resulting in the deaths of at least 36,050 people, the majority of whom are women and children, and injuring more than 81,000 others, according to the latest figures from the Palestinian Health Ministry.

* This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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