An Israeli airstrike on a displaced persons camp in Rafah killed at least 35 people, the health ministry said, hours after Hamas fired rockets into Israel.

Palestinian health workers said Israeli airstrikes in the southern Gaza city of Rafah Sunday killed at least 35 people and hit tents for displaced people in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, leaving “several” others trapped in the burning rubble. The airstrikes came hours after Hamas said it had fired a barrage of rockets from Gaza into central Israel, as rocket sirens sounded for the first time in cities like Tel Aviv.

Gaza’s health ministry said in a statement that 35 people had been killed and dozens wounded, mostly women and children. In light of the attack, the statement said, “The Ministry of Health confirms that never before in history have such a large number of weapons of mass destruction been accumulated and used together, as is happening now in Gaza.” Severe shortage of water, food, medicine, electricity and fuel.

Witnesses told a CBS news team in Gaza that eight airstrikes hit tents in West Rafah., Although the reports could not be independently confirmed. Witnesses said the injured, including civilians, were taken to an Emirati hospital. The tents are part of a camp about 200 meters (about 650 feet) from the largest United Nations warehouse in the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces acknowledged the attack in a statement Sunday night.

“A short time ago, an IDF aircraft struck a Hamas compound in Rafah where significant Hamas terrorists were active,” the IDF said. “The strike was carried out against legitimate targets under international law, using precision munitions and based on accurate intelligence that indicated Hamas had used the area. The fire in the area resulted in many civilian casualties.

Footage from the scene showed widespread destruction, and a spokesman for the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said the death toll could rise as search and rescue efforts continued in the Tal al-Sultan neighborhood of Rafah, west of the city center.

The community insisted that the site was designated a “humanitarian zone” by Israel.

A Palestinian boy rides a bicycle past a ruined building in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on May 26, 2024.

EYAD BABA/AFP via Getty Images

The strike comes two days later The International Court of Justice ordered Israel to End the military offensive in Rafah.

Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Galant was in Rafah on Sunday and was briefed on the “depth of operations” there, his office said.

The airstrike sirens from Gaza to Tel Aviv hours after Hamas launched a barrage of rockets demonstrated Israel’s ability to withstand more than seven months of massive air, sea and ground attack. .

Hamas’ military wing said the attack and rocket launches could be heard in central Gaza, the AP reported.

In a statement on its Telegram channel on Sunday, al-Qassam Brigades said the rockets were fired in response to what it called “Zionist massacres against civilians,” Reuters reported.

After eight rockets were fired at Israel from Rafah in the Gaza Strip, its air defenses intercepted several of the missiles, the Israel Defense Forces said.

Militants have fired missiles at communities around Gaza during the war, but have not fired long-range rockets for months.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from what appeared to be the first long-range rocket attack from Gaza since January, the Associated Press reported.

The escalation came hours after aid trucks from southern Israel entered Gaza under a new deal with Egypt to bypass the Rafah crossing. Israeli forces captured the southern city of Rafah earlier this month. It is unclear whether humanitarian groups will be able to access aid because of the ongoing fighting in the area.

Egypt refuses to reopen its side of the Rafah crossing until it hands over control of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians. Israel agreed to temporarily divert traffic through the Kerem Shalom crossing, Gaza’s main cargo terminal, after a call between US President Joe Biden and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

Israeli military vehicles drive in the Gaza Strip as seen from southern Israel on Friday, May 24, 2024.

Safrir Abayov/AP

The war between Israel and Hamas, now in its eighth month, has killed nearly 36,000 Palestinians, according to local health officials. About 80% of the population’s 2.3 million people have fled their homes, acute hunger is widespread and parts of the territory are experiencing famine, UN officials say.

Hamas sparked the war in Israel with its October 7 attack, in which its fighters killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took 250 hostages. Hamas still holds 100 hostages and the remains of 30 others, most of whom were released during a ceasefire last year.

on Saturday, CBS News reports that US diplomatic efforts A deal to release hostages in Gaza by Hamas is expected to go ahead next week. Negotiators from Qatar, Egypt and the United States will be part of the talks.

“There is progress,” a senior Biden administration official told CBS News. “Communications are ongoing and we are working closely with the Egyptian and Qatari mediators. These communications will continue in the coming week as we seek to move the negotiation process forward.”

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