Home west asia Israel Strikes Rafah After Rocket Attack By Hamas Kills 3 Israeli Soldiers

Israel Strikes Rafah After Rocket Attack By Hamas Kills 3 Israeli Soldiers

Hamas Israel
Mourners react near to the bodies of Palestinians killed in an Israeli strike, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, at Abu Yousef al-Najjar hospital in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 5, 2024. REUTERS/Hatem Khaled TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Hamas killed three Israeli soldiers and injured others near the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah on Sunday. This comes after Palestinian health officials say that at least 19 people were killed by Israeli fire.

The attack took place at the Kerem Shalom crossing which is one of the few routes by which food and humanitarian aid can go into Gaza.

Israel’s military said 10 projectiles were launched from Rafah in southern Gaza towards the area of the crossing, which it said was now closed to aid trucks going into the coastal enclave. Other crossings remained open.

Shortly after the Hamas attack, an Israeli airstrike hit a house in Rafah, killing three people and wounding several others, Palestinian medics said.

The Israeli military confirmed the counter-strike, saying it struck the launcher from which the Hamas projectiles were fired, as well as a nearby “military structure.”

“The launches carried out by Hamas adjacent to the Rafah Crossing … are a clear example of the terrorist organisations systematic exploitation of humanitarian facilities and spaces, and their continued use of the Gazan civilian population as human shields,” it said. Hamas has denied it uses civilians as human shields.

The Hamas attack comes after the failure of indirect talks between Hamas and Israel in Cairo. Officials say Hamas had wanted a permanent ceasefire, but Israel had only promised a four-week ceasefire. This was one of the major sticking points in a potential deal.

Nitin A Gokhale WhatsApp Channel

Sunday’s attack comes on World Holocaust Day which is a day of remembrance for Holocaust survivors in WWII. Speaking on the day, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated, “Israel will stand alone! No pressure would stop us from defending ourselves.”

The Israeli prime minister had been under great pressure by right-wing members of his Cabinet to conduct an operation in Rafah. This has been opposed by the US and Arab nations. They say that it will lead to mass killings of the one million Palestinians currently sheltered there.

A Times of Israel report states that US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has spoken with his Israeli counterpart, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, to discuss “the ongoing hostage negotiations, humanitarian assistance efforts, and Rafah,” the Pentagon said in a statement

Austin “expressed his condolences for the IDF soldiers killed and wounded by a rocket and mortar attack launched by Hamas out of Rafah,” the statement says. He is also said to have reiterated Washington’s commitment to “supporting Israel’s defense.”

CIA chief William Burns is believed to be traveling to Qatar to hold an emergency meeting with the country’s Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani. The two sides are expected to discuss how to bring the ceasefire back on track.

(With inputs from Reuters and other agencies)