At least 11 Palestinians killed after Israel hits tent camp in Rafah

At least 50 people were injured in the attack near the Al-Helal Al-Emirati Maternity Hospital in southern Gaza.

Injured Palestinians, including children, are taken to Al-Emirati Hospital following Israeli attack in Rafah, Gaza on March 02
Injured Palestinians, including children, are taken to al-Helal Hospital following an Israeli attack in Rafah on March 2, 2024 [Yaser F q Qudaih/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli forces have hit a tent in Rafah housing displaced Palestinians, killing at least 11 people, according to local authorities, hours after 17 people were killed in attacks elsewhere in the Gaza Strip.

At least 50 people were injured in Saturday’s drone attack, which took place next to the entrance of the Al-Helal Al-Emirati Maternity Hospital in Tal as-Sultan, Rafah City, Gaza’s Ministry of Health said in a statement.

The ministry said Abdel Fattah Abu Marhi, the head of the paramedic unit at the hospital, was killed, and that children were among the injured.

“A tent filled with displaced evacuees in the area, including an entire family, has been directly hit by a drone strike,” said Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud, reporting from Rafah.

He said eight of the bodies had been taken to the Kuwait Hospital “where the scene is very chaotic” as the small facility is unprepared for the large number of injuries arriving there.

“The strike hit one tent, where people took shelter, directly, shrapnel came inside the hospital where me and friends were sitting, we survived by a miracle,” a witness told Reuters news agency, declining to be identified.

In December, displaced people were instructed by the Israelis to move to the Tal as-Sultan area to avoid being bombed, our correspondent said, adding that “the narrative that Rafah is a safe zone has once again been proven false”.

“While this is not the first time that the Tal as-Sultan area has been targeted, it is probably the worst,” Mahmoud said. “People’s sense of safety in Rafah is completely shattered.”

Responding to news of the attack, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organisation, called it “outrageous and unspeakable”.

“Among those killed are two health workers. Health workers and civilians are Not A Target, and must be protected at all times,” he said in a post on X. “We urge Israel to cease fire.”

At least 30,320 Palestinians have been killed and 71,533 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7, Gaza’s Health Ministry said on Saturday. It added that at least 92 of those were killed in the last 24 hours.

Earlier, at least 17 Palestinians were killed and dozens wounded in Israeli air raids targeting three houses elsewhere in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Wafa news agency, quoting medical sources, reported that Israeli jets targeted two houses east of Deir el-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, resulting in the killing of 15 people.

“Last night was extremely hard for people in Deir el-Balah with unrelenting attacks by tanks and jets throughout the night,” said journalist Abubaker Abed, reporting from the central city.

“There were at least 10 explosions, mostly in the western and eastern parts of the city,” Abed said earlier.

Meanwhile, in the Jabalia camp in northern Gaza, Israeli jets struck a house in an attack that killed two people. The house was reportedly sheltering 70 displaced people.

That strike killed at least two victims, according to initial assessments, Anadolu Agency reported.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies