Tanks roll into Rafah as defiant Netanyahu vows war will continue

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun9,2024

Israeli tanks rolled further into Rafah today as a defiant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue the war against Hamas.

Despite growing international condemnation of an air strike that killed scores of Palestinians in the city on Sunday, the Israeli military once again launched heavy airstrikes on the southern enclave, killing at least seven more people sheltering in tents.

As tanks and other military vehicles ploughed into the city – where 1.4million Palestinian refugees are holed up – the Israeli government showed little sign of changing course.

Despite admitting the earlier killing of 45 civilians – including women and children – had been a ‘tragic mishap’ – Mr Netanyahu remained undeterred.

And he warned: “I don’t intend to end the war before every goal has been achieved.”

But he added that it was vital that Israel took “every precaution possible” to protect civilians, and insisted that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) were using their “best efforts not to harm those uninvolved” in the conflict.

At least 45 people were killed in Sunday’s strike on a tented refugee camp in Rafah, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, while hundreds more were treated for severe burns, fractures and shrapnel wounds.

The United States called images of the devastating attack “heartbreaking” but once again insisted Israel had a right to defend itself.

And as Israel again launched airstrikes, the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting, at Algeria’s request, to discuss the earlier Rafah attack.

In a statement, UN secretary general António Guterres said the strike had “killed scores of innocent civilians who were only seeking shelter from this deadly conflict”.

“There is no safe place in Gaza. This horror must stop,” he said.

International organisations have also lined up to condemn the strike, with the EU insisting that Israel respect a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) last week to halt strikes on Rafah.

Despite the ICJ ruling, Israel has pledged to continue with the invasion of Rafah, with officials insisting the ruling left room for the attack to comply with international law.

The UN’s human rights chief, Volker Turk, said Sunday’s deadly attack on Rafah suggested that there had been “no apparent change in the methods and means of warfare used by Israel that have already led to so many civilian deaths”.

Israel launched the now infamous Rafah attack hours after Hamas’s first missile attack on Tel Aviv in several months.

IDF officials said the attack on Rafah had killed two senior Hamas commanders, and that it was investigating the deaths of civilians in the area.

But the Palestinian Red Crescent said the air strike had targeted tents for displaced people near a UN facility in Tal al-Sultan, about 2km (1.2 miles) north-west of the centre of Rafah.

Videos from the scene in the Tal al-Sultan area on Sunday night showed a large explosion and intense fires burning.

Graphic footage showed a number of structures ablaze next to a banner saying “Kuwaiti Peace Camp ‘1’”, as well as first responders and bystanders carrying several bodies.

The same area was hit again today, killing seven. But there appeared to be no dent in Israel‘s resolve.

And as Ireland, Norway and Spain all formally began to recognise the state of Palestine today, the Israeli military again began bombing targets in Rafah and across the wartorn Strip.

Separately, the European Union began talks on agreeing in principle to press ahead with a renewed EU border mission at Rafah.
As foreign ministers again meet in Brussels, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said getting supplies into the war-torn Strip was now more vital than ever.

But he also accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of using false claims of antisemitism against the International Criminal Court (ICC) after it sought a warrant for his arrest.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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