Gaza: At least 35 killed after Israeli air strikes on camp for displaced people in Rafah

Hamas launches rocket attack on Tel Aviv from Gaza as more aid expected to reach enclave

At least 35 people have been killed after an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza city of Rafah hit tents housing displaced people, Palestinian medics have said, hours after Hamas launched a barrage of rockets at Tel Aviv for the first time in months.

Footage from the scene of Sunday’s air strike in Rafah showed heavy destruction. The Israeli military said its air force struck a Hamas compound and that the strike was carried out with “precise ammunition and on the basis of precise intelligence.”

The Israeli military said it had killed Hamas’s chief of staff for the West Bank and another senior official behind deadly attacks on Israelis, adding it was “aware of reports indicating that as a result of the strike and fire that was ignited, several civilians in the area were harmed. The incident is under review”.

A spokesperson with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said the death toll was likely to rise as search-and-rescue efforts continued in Rafah’s Tal al-Sultan neighbourhood about 2km (1.2 miles) northwest of the city centre.


The society asserted the location had been designated by Israel as a “humanitarian area” and it was not included in areas that Israel’s military ordered evacuated earlier this month.

The Red Cross said its field hospital in Rafah was receiving an influx of casualties, and that other hospitals also were taking in a large number of patients.

Earlier, Hamas launched missiles at Tel Aviv on Sunday, setting off sirens in Israel’s financial centre for the first time in four months, as the Islamist Palestinian group sought to show military strength despite Israel’s Gaza offensive.

The Israeli military said eight projectiles were identified crossing from the area of Rafah, the southern tip of the Gaza Strip where Israel kept up operations despite a ruling by the top United Nations court on Friday ordering it to stop attacking the city.

A number of the projectiles were intercepted, it said. There were no reports of casualties.

Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu was convening his war cabinet later on Sunday to discuss continued operations in Rafah. Israel argues that the UN court’s ruling allows room for some military action there.

In a statement on its Telegram channel, the Hamas al-Qassam Brigades said the rockets were launched in response to “Zionist massacres against civilians”.

Israel says it wants to root out Hamas fighters holed up in Rafah and rescue hostages it says are being held in the area, but its assault has worsened the plight of civilians and caused an international outcry.

Israeli tanks have probed around the edges of Rafah, near the crossing point from Gaza into Egypt, and have entered some of its eastern districts, residents say, but have not yet entered the city in force since the start of operations in the city earlier this month.

Defence minister Yoav Gallant held an operational assessment in Rafah where he was briefed on “troops’ operations above and below the ground, as well as the deepening of operations in additional areas with the aim of dismantling Hamas battalions”, his office said in a statement.

Nearly 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s offensive, Gaza’s health ministry says. Israel launched the operation after Hamas-led militants attacked southern Israeli communities on October 7th, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Fighting also continued in the northern Gaza area of Jabaliya, the scene of intense combat earlier in the war. During one raid, the military said it found a weapons storage site with dozens of rocket parts and weapons at a school.

Hamas media said an Israeli air strike on a house in a neighbourhood near Jabaliya killed 10 people and wounded others.

Efforts to agree a halt to the fighting and return more than 120 hostages have been blocked for weeks but there were some signs of movement this weekend following meetings between Israeli and US intelligence officials and Qatar’s prime minister.

An official with knowledge of the matter said a decision had been taken to resume the talks this week based on new proposals from Egyptian and Qatari mediators, and with “active US involvement.”

However, a Hamas official played down the report, telling Reuters: “It is not true.”

Mr Netanyahu’s war cabinet would discuss the new proposals, his office said.

A second Hamas official, Izzat El-Reshiq, said the group had not received anything from the mediators on new dates for resuming talks as had been reported by Israeli media.

While Israel is seeking the return of hostages, Mr Netanyahu has repeatedly said the war will not end until Hamas, which is sworn to Israel’s destruction, is eliminated.

Israel has faced calls to get more aid into Gaza after more than seven months of a war that has caused widespread destruction and hunger in the enclave.

Khaled Zayed of the Egyptian Red Crescent told Reuters 200 trucks of aid, including four fuel trucks, were expected to enter Gaza on Sunday through Kerem Shalom.

It follows an agreement between US president Joe Biden and Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Friday to temporarily send aid via the Kerem Shalom crossing, bypassing the Rafah crossing that has been blocked for weeks.

Egypt’s state-affiliated Al Qahera News TV shared a video on social media platform X, showing what it said were aid trucks as they entered Kerem Shalom, which before the conflict was the main commercial crossing station between Israel, Egypt and Gaza.

The Rafah crossing has been shut for almost three weeks, since Israel took control of the Palestinian side of the crossing as it stepped up its offensive.

Egypt has been increasingly alarmed at the prospect of large numbers of Palestinians entering its territory from Gaza and has refused to open its side of the Rafah crossing.

Israel has said it is not restricting aid flows and has opened up new crossing points in the north as well as co-operating with the United States, which has built a temporary floating pier for aid deliveries. – Agencies