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Netanyahu says Rafah strike went tragically wrong that massacred 45 people

Netanyahu says Israel must destroy what he says are Hamas’ last remaining battalions in Rafah.

Netanyahu after the massacre of 45 people at the centre for the displaced in Rafah says that the strike went tragically wrong. 

In a statement issued on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said an air strike in the area of Rafah in southern Gaza that killed dozens of Palestinians was not intended to cause civilian casualties and would be investigated.

“In Rafah, we already evacuated about 1 million non-combatant residents and despite our utmost effort not to harm non-combatants, something unfortunately went tragically wrong,” he said in a speech in parliament that was interrupted by shouting from opposition lawmakers.

“We are investigating the incident and will reach conclusions because this is our policy,” Netanyahu said. 

At least 45 people were killed in the deadly Israeli strike on the camp, according to the Gaza Health Ministry and the Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service.

The ministry said the dead included at least 12 women, eight children and three older adults, with another three bodies burned beyond recognition.

Rafah, the southernmost Gaza city on the border with Egypt, had housed more than a million people — about half of Gaza’s population — displaced from other parts of the territory amid the ongoing Israeli offensive since Oct 7.

Netanyahu maintains Israel must destroy what he says are Hamas’ last remaining battalions in Rafah.

New wave of condemnation

Israeli deadly strike on Rafah has brought a new wave of condemnation, even from Israel’s strongest supporters.

The U.S. National Security Council said in a statement that the “devastating images” from the strike on Rafah were “heartbreaking.”

It said the U.S. was working with the Israeli military and others to assess what happened.

French President Emmanuel Macron said “these operations must stop” in a post on X.

“There are no safe areas in Rafah for Palestinian civilians. I call for full respect for international law and an immediate ceasefire,” he wrote.

The Foreign Office of Germany, which has been a staunch supporter of Israel for decades, said: “The images of charred bodies, including children, from the airstrike in Rafah are unbearable.”

“The exact circumstances must be clarified, and the investigation announced by the Israeli army must now come quickly,” the ministry added.

”The civilian population must finally be better protected.”

Qatar, a key mediator in attempts to secure a cease-fire and the release of hostages held by Hamas, condemning the Rafah strike said the action could “complicate” talks.

Negotiations, which appear to be restarting, have faltered repeatedly over Hamas’ demand for a lasting truce and the withdrawal of Israeli forces, terms Israeli leaders have publicly rejected.

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