Netanyahu acknowledges tragic mistake in Rafah airstrike

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged a “tragic mistake” on Monday following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, a southern Gaza city, that set ablaze a camp for displaced Palestinians.

The incident, reported by local officials, resulted in at least 45 fatalities.

The Rafah strike has intensified global condemnation of Israel’s ongoing conflict with Hamas, drawing ire even from its closest allies over the mounting civilian casualties.

Despite international backlash, Israel maintains that its military actions comply with international law. Last week, a leading international court called for an immediate halt to the offensive in Rafah.

Netanyahu refrained from detailing the specifics of the error. Initially, the Israeli military claimed the airstrike targeted a Hamas compound, successfully eliminating two senior operatives.

As the aftermath of the strike became clearer, the Israeli military announced an investigation into the civilian deaths.

The attack, which occurred Sunday night, appears to be one of the deadliest in the current conflict, pushing the Palestinian death toll above 36,000, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

This figure does not differentiate between combatants and non-combatants.

“Despite our utmost efforts not to harm innocent civilians, last night there was a tragic mistake,” Netanyahu said in an address to the Knesset.

“We are investigating the incident and will obtain a conclusion because this is our policy.”

Rescuers, including Mohammed Abuassa, described the devastating scene in Tel al-Sultan, a northwestern Rafah neighborhood.

“We pulled out people who were in an unbearable state,” Abuassa said.

“We pulled out children who were in pieces. We pulled out young and elderly people. The fire in the camp was unreal.”

According to the Gaza Health Ministry and the Palestinian Red Crescent, the dead included at least 12 women, eight children, and three elderly individuals, with three bodies burned beyond recognition.

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