Israeli strike leaves 9 members of a family dead in Rafah

Published April 21, 2024
MOURNERS carry the bodies of Palestinian men killed during an attack by Israeli settlers on Aqraba, a village in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on Saturday.—AFP
MOURNERS carry the bodies of Palestinian men killed during an attack by Israeli settlers on Aqraba, a village in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on Saturday.—AFP

RAFAH: Gaza’s civil defence agency said on Saturday an overnight Israeli strike killed nine members of a Palestinian family, including six children, in the southern city Rafah.

Separately, Israeli troops killed 10 people in the occupied West Bank.

Five children aged one to seven and a 16-year-old girl were among the dead, along with two women and a man, according to the city’s Al Najjar hospital.

“Nine martyrs including six children were pulled out from the rubble after Israeli air forces struck a house of the Radwan family in Tal al-Sultan in Rafah,” Gaza Civil Defence agency spokesman Mahmud Bassal said in a statement.

Outside the hospital an AFP journalist saw people grieving over small body bags. A woman stroked a dead boy’s forehead as planes rumbled overhead.

10 killed in West Bank attack; Erdogan urges Palestinian unity after meeting Hamas chief

“People were sleeping peacefully,” said neighbour Abu Mohammed Ziyadah.

“As you can see, there were no militants, not even male adults, except for the head of the family. They were all women and children.”

The Israeli army killed 10 Palestinians in an ongoing raid around Nur Shams, a refugee camp in the north of the occupied West Bank.

Journalists heard gunshots and saw houses hit by blasts as Israeli drones flew overhead and armoured vehicles moved through the camp.

The Israeli army said that over more than 40 hours it had eliminated 10 fighters and made eight arrests around Nur Shams. It said eight soldiers and a police officer were wounded.

The Palestinian health ministry said it had confirmed 11 wounded in the Israeli raid, seven of them “wounded by live gunshots”. It said a paramedic shot while trying to get to the wounded was among them.

Erdogan-Haniyeh meeting

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Palestinians to unite amid Israel’s war in Gaza following hours-long talks with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh in Istanbul on Saturday, his office said.

Erdogan said Palestinian unity was “vital” following the talks at the Dolmabahce palace on the banks of the Bosphorus strait, which Turkish media reports said lasted more than two and a half hours.

“The strongest response to Israel and the path to victory lie in unity and integrity,” Erdogan said, according to a Turkish presidency statement.

As fears of a wider regional war grow, Erdogan said recent events between Iran and Israel should not allow Israel to “gain ground and that it is important to act in a way that keeps attention on Gaza”.

With Qatar saying it will reassess its role as a mediator between Hamas and Israel, Erdogan sent Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan to Doha on Wednesday in a new sign that he wants a role.

“Even if only I, Tayyip Erdogan, remain, I will continue as long as God gives me my life, to defend the Palestinian struggle and to be the voice of the oppressed Palestinian people,” the president said on Wednesday when he announced Haniyeh’s visit.

Fidan on Saturday held talks with visiting Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, with both men emphasising the need to deliver more humanitarian aid to devastated Gaza where the threat of famine looms.

Turkey is one of Gaza’s main humanitarian aid partners, sending 45,000 tonnes of supplies and medicine in the region.

Last year, Erdogan likened the tactics of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to those of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and called Israel a “terrorist state” because of its offensive against Hamas after the group’s October 7 attacks on Israel.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2024

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