Israeli strikes kill at least 50 in Gaza after UN passes ceasefire resolution

Eighteen others killed while trying to collect aid dropped over devastated enclave

Palestinians mourn relatives killed in an overnight Israeli bombardment at Al Najjar hospital in Rafah. AFP
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At least 50 people were killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza, hours after the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for an “immediate ceasefire” in the besieged Palestinian territory.

Residents of Rafah described “large explosions” and heavy artillery fire around the southern city, while “fire belts” – a barrage of missile strikes – were reported in the northern city of Beit Lahia.

Medical sources told the official Wafa news agency that at least 17 Palestinians, including four children, were killed in Rafah in an Israeli strike that hit a house.

Thirty others were killed after Israel bombed a house near Al Shifa Medical Complex, which has been under siege for more than a week, according to the same sources.

At least ten people were killed in an Israeli air strike on their tent in Al Mawasi, Palestinian media reported on Tuesday afternoon, despite Israeli forces claiming the area was a “safe zone” protected from attacks.

Another 18 people were killed while trying to collect aid dropped over Gaza, the enclave's media office said in a statement.

Twelve people drowned while trying to retrieve aid that had been dropped over the sea, it said, while six others were killed in “stampedes” while waiting for relief supplies dropped over the enclave.

“We call for an end to the operations of landing aid in this offensive, wrong, inappropriate and useless manner, and we demand that the land crossings be opened immediately and quickly in order to bring humanitarian aid to our Palestinian people,” the media office said.

The latest deaths came in the hours after the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza, to be followed by a lasting and sustainable ceasefire.

The UN resolution, which passed with 14 votes in favour and one abstention from the US, is the first UN resolution on a ceasefire since the war began in October.

Gaza's death toll has since risen to 32,414 after 81 Palestinians were killed over the last 24 hours, according to the latest figures from the enclave's health ministry, released on Tuesday afternoon.

Another 93 were wounded, taking the total number of injured to 74,787.

Washington abstained from voting in Monday's session at the UN, signalling a shift in its usual staunch support of Israel, a move that angered Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who, in response, cancelled a delegation's visit to the White House.

Hassan Murtaja, a citizen of northern Gaza city now residing in Rafah, said the resolution is “important” because, for the first time, the US did not object to it.

“This will help increase international pressure on Israel,” he told The National.

Palestinian ambassador to UN lauds 'historic day' as Gaza ceasefire resolution passes

Palestinian ambassador to UN lauds 'historic day' as Gaza ceasefire resolution passes

Trigger assault

Rafah resident Hussain Al Samoni said the resolution could backfire and lead to an assault on his city, an operation that the US has warned Israel not to conduct without a clear plan to protect civilians.

“The coming scenario will be worse than what happened before because the main purpose of this war is to immigrate Palestinians and kill any hope of establishing a Palestinian country,” he said.

Hamas has welcomed the step but emphasised the need for a permanent ceasefire that would result in the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip.

Ismail Haniyeh landed in Tehran on Tuesday afternoon for the Doha-based Hamas political leader's second visit to Iran since the war began.

He met with Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, state outlet IRNA reported.

The two leaders discussed "the ongoing aggressions of the Zionist regime against the people of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank."

Iran earlier said the UN resolution was “insufficient” after more than six months of war.

Resolution welcomed

Many nations have welcomed the ceasefire resolution, including the UAE, Qatar, Jordan and Lebanon.

The Arab League said the resolution was “long overdue” and now needed to be enforced on the ground.

Israel has repeatedly resisted international calls for a ceasefire, and has stood firm in its intention to invade Rafah, on the Egyptian border, where more than a million Palestinians have sought shelter after being displaced from northern and central Gaza.

On Monday, it claimed its eight-day operation at Gaza's largest hospital was “one of the most successful operations of the war”.

The raid at Al Shifa, in Gaza city, killed at least 170 Palestinians, with at least 500 arrested. Israel claims those detained are members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which both hold hostages taken from Israel on October 7.

The military claims hospitals are used by Hamas as command centres, an accusation strongly denied by medical staff.

In Khan Younis, the Palestinian Red Crescent evacuated medical staff and patients from the besieged Al Amal Hospital after Israeli forces killed two people in a raid on the complex.

The hospital is now completely out of service, the organisation confirmed on Tuesday morning, leaving Gaza with no functioning medical complexes.

Updated: March 26, 2024, 12:20 PM