At least nine killed in Israeli attack on Rafah, including children and women

Two Palestinians killed in West Bank as Israeli operation in Nur Shams camp continues for second day

A Palestinian child walks through the rubble of a house hit by overnight Israeli bombing in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Saturday. AFP
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At least nine people died – six children, two women, and a man – in an overnight Israeli air strike on a building in the Tal Al Sultan district of Rafah, Gaza’s civil defence said.

Palestinian Faten Al Masry was asleep in a tent for displaced people in Tal Al Sultan when a house nearby was struck. Her son was wounded in the shelling.

“We were sleeping and suddenly we woke up jolted by the attack. My son had blood covering his face. I began to shake him to see if was still alive,” she told The National.

During the chaos of the attack, Ms Al Masry lost contact with her sister. She says she does not know if she is dead or alive.

“I have no information about my sister. Her daughter was also injured,” she added.

Like millions of other Gazans who are living in tents, displaced from their homes and forced to move repeatedly, Ms Al Masry feels unsafe.

“We live in a tent, and nothing protects us. We are human beings. We want protection. We are civilians.”

Gazans fear 'massacres' if Israel invades Rafah

Gazans fear 'massacres' if Israel invades Rafah

At least 34,000 Gazans have been killed since Israel's war began on October 7. More than 13,000 are children, the Health Ministry said on Friday. The actual figures are believed to be higher, as thousands remain missing and under the rubble of destroyed buildings.

The Israeli military began its offensive after Hamas-led militants attacked southern Israel, killing more than 1,200 people.

On Saturday, Israel also struck Al Salam area, south-east of Rafah. Mohammed Daraghma was walking when the attack took place.

“Most of the wounded are children. I tried to evacuate people,” he told The National.

“Why do they [Israel] continue to target civilians?”

Moath Al Arja lives in the neighbourhood. He managed to flee his house just before the shelling began, as his neighbours had warned him of the impending attack.

“We left our home, and the explosion occurred. It was so intense that even those who evacuated their homes were affected. Due to the strength of the explosion, there were casualties. We ran to see what was happening and found injuries,” he told The National.

Like Mr Daraghma, he began helping transport the wounded to safety, taking them to the nearby Abu Yousef Al Najjar hospital.

Israeli forces also struck Rafah from naval boats, firing machine guns towards the shore.

Residents in Rafah have been on alert for an impending ground invasion, where almost all of Gaza's 2.1 million people are seeking shelter in makeshift tents, displacement camps, UN schools and hospitals.

Meanwhile, Israel continued one of its most destructive raids on the camp of Nur Shams in Tulkarm in the occupied West Bank for the second day, which has left two people dead so far, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

At least eleven people were also wounded, several Palestinians were detained and three homes blown, the Wafa news agency said.

Seven of the people were hit by Israeli bullets, while four were beaten by Israeli soldiers, it added.

The Israeli army said on Saturday that its forces killed 10 militants in the continuing raid.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said Israeli forces prevent its ambulances from entering the camp to transfer injured people.

On Thursday night, Israeli forces, accompanied by bulldozers, stormed Nur Shams camp and imposed a siege.

Updated: April 20, 2024, 12:37 PM