The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is horrified by the multiple Israeli air strikes and bombardment that have so far killed at least 60 Palestinians and injured dozens more, including women and children, in Rafah. These attacks have resulted in the largest number of casualties since the Rafah incursion began and they come a few days after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to stop its offensive on the city. These devastating attacks occurred on Sunday night, in an area housing displaced people where tents caught fire, with a further attack today in a supposed safe zone.

Kiryn Lanning, IRC's Team Lead in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), said,

"We are deeply outraged by the tragic loss of civilian life as the Israeli incursion into Rafah intensifies. These incidents reaffirm our repeated warnings that no place and nobody is safe in Gaza. Camps housing displaced people must never be targeted. The reports from the ground are extremely disturbing - with people trapped in the fire and burning tents.

"There was not a single evacuation order for these attacks given to civilians that have sought shelter in Rafah after being displaced from other parts of Gaza. The targeting of so-called safe zones, densely populated with displaced civilians, is a violation of International Humanitarian Law and completely unjustifiable. The high concentration of civilians in these zones makes it impossible to avoid significant collateral damage and high mortality rates during military offensives, even with precision targeting.

“There must be accountability for these actions to ensure that such tragedies do not continue to occur. All parties involved in the conflict must be held responsible for their actions and commit to upholding the principles of IHL."

The IRC urgently calls for Israel to halt its offensive in Rafah, for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, and for the release of all hostages. International Humanitarian Law (IHL) must be respected, and civilians must be protected. It is imperative that all parties uphold their humanitarian obligations. The international community must act urgently to prevent further atrocities.