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Israeli Strikes Kill at Least 37 Palestinians Near Gaza’s Rafah as Offensive Expands

Israeli military actions have resulted in the deaths of at least 37 Palestinians, most of whom were sheltering in tents outside the southern Gaza city of Rafah. This escalation has triggered widespread international outrage, including from some of Israel’s closest allies. On Tuesday, Spain, Norway, and Ireland formally recognized a Palestinian state, highlighting Israel’s growing isolation on the global stage.

Incident Overview

Overnight and into Tuesday, Israeli shelling and airstrikes struck the same area where a previous strike had caused a deadly fire in a camp for displaced Palestinians. Witnesses, emergency workers, and hospital officials reported that the strikes hit various locations, scattering waste and causing significant damage.

International Reaction

The tent camp inferno and the subsequent strikes have drawn condemnation from around the world. The Israeli military suggested that Sunday’s blaze might have been caused by secondary explosions from Palestinian militants’ weapons. However, the exact cause remains under investigation. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the fire as a “tragic mishap.”

Humanitarian Impact

The United Nations agency assisting Palestinian refugees reported that the offensive in Rafah, launched on May 6, has displaced more than one million people, many of whom had already been displaced multiple times during the nearly eight-month conflict between Israel and Hamas. The strikes have primarily hit areas where civilians had not been ordered to evacuate, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.

Recent Strikes

Late Monday and early Tuesday, Israeli shelling targeted Rafah’s western Tel al-Sultan district, killing at least 16 people, including seven who were in tents near a U.N. facility. An Israeli drone strike on Tuesday afternoon hit tents near a field hospital by the Mediterranean coast, killing at least 21 people, including 13 women.

Military Operations

Israeli ground troops and tanks have been operating in eastern Rafah, central parts of the city, and along the Gaza-Egypt border. Despite the international backlash, Netanyahu has vowed to continue the offensive, aiming to dismantle Hamas and recover hostages taken during the October 7 attack that triggered the war.

Diplomatic and Legal Developments

The International Court of Justice ordered Israel to halt its Rafah offensive, and Algeria is drafting a new U.N. Security Council resolution to stop the fighting. The U.S. has vetoed multiple Gaza ceasefire resolutions, but there is growing pressure for a diplomatic solution.

Humanitarian Challenges

The conflict has severely hindered humanitarian efforts in southern Gaza. The Israeli military claims to have allowed hundreds of trucks to enter through the Kerem Shalom crossing, but aid groups report difficulties in accessing this aid due to ongoing fighting. The U.N. has managed to collect aid from about 170 trucks over the past three weeks, far short of the 600 trucks per day that are needed.


The situation in Rafah continues to deteriorate, with widespread displacement and a dire need for humanitarian aid. The international community remains deeply concerned about the escalating violence and its devastating impact on civilians in Gaza.

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