‘The sound was terrifying’: Witnesses recount chaotic scenes during deadly strikes on Rafah camp

Israeli air strikes late Sunday on a tented camp near Rafah for displaced Gazans killed 45 people, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave. Israel's army said the strikes, hours after a rocket attack had targeted Tel Aviv, killed two senior Hamas operatives. Medical officials and aid agencies operating in Gaza said the majority of the casualties were women and children.

In scenes grimly familiar from a war in its eighth month, Palestinian families rushed to hospitals to prepare their dead for burial after the strike late on Sunday night set tents and rickety shelters ablaze.

Women wept and men held prayers beside bodies in shrouds.

"The whole world is witnessing Rafah getting burnt up by Israel and no one is doing anything to stop it," Bassam, a Rafah resident, told Reuters via a chat app, of the strike in an area of western Rafah that had been designated a safe zone.

"We saw charred bodies and dismembered limbs ... We also saw cases of amputations, wounded children, women and the elderly," Mohammad al-Mughayyir, a Gaza civil defence agency official told AFP.

Footage released by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society showed chaotic night-time scenes of paramedics in ambulances racing to the fiery attack site and evacuating the wounded, including children.

"We had just done with the evening prayers," recalled one survivor, a Palestinian woman who declined to be named.

"Our children were asleep ... suddenly we heard a loud sound and there was fire all around us. The children were screaming ... the sound was terrifying."

And Qatar condemned the Israeli bombing as a "dangerous violation of international law".


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