Tuesday Briefing

The destruction after an Israeli strike on a camp for displaced people in Rafah.Credit…Haitham Imad/EPA, via Shutterstock

An Israeli strike on Rafah killed at least 45 people

The day after an airstrike killed dozens of displaced Palestinians in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, called the deaths a “tragic accident” and accused Hamas of hiding among the general population.

“For us, every uninvolved civilian who is hurt is a tragedy,” he said. “For Hamas, it’s a strategy. That’s the whole difference.”

The Israeli military said that the strike had targeted a Hamas compound and had killed two Hamas officials. But an Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that an initial investigation had concluded that the strike, or shrapnel from it, might have unexpectedly ignited a flammable substance at the site.

At least 45 people were killed, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, including 23 women, children and older people. The ministry said that 249 people were wounded. Witnesses and survivors described a terrifying scene of burn victims and tents in flames.

The strike came two days after the International Court of Justice, with a 13-2 ruling, appeared to order Israel to stop its Rafah offensive. President Emmanuel Macron of France said that he was “outraged” by the airstrike in Rafah, adding, “These operations must stop.”

Aid: The flow of aid into Gaza has shrunk so much in May that humanitarian officials say that the threat of widespread starvation is more acute than ever.

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