RAFAH, May 27 — The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said early today that at least 35 people were killed and dozens wounded in Israeli strikes on a centre for displaced people near the Palestinian territory’s far-southern city of Rafah.

Israel’s army said it had killed two senior Hamas officials in an air strike on a compound in the city and said it was aware of reports that civilians had been harmed in the incident.

The Gazan ministry said in a statement that Israeli strikes “claimed the lives of 35 martyrs and left dozens injured, most of them children and women”.

Israel’s army said its aircraft “struck a Hamas compound in Rafah”, killing Yassin Rabia and Khaled Nagar, both of whom were senior officials for the Palestinian militant group in the occupied West Bank.


Both men were involved in Hamas’s activities in the West Bank, including planning attacks and transferring funds, while Nagar also managed funds intended for the group’s operations in Gaza, according to the army.

“The strike was carried out against legitimate targets under international law, through the use of precise munitions and on the basis of precise intelligence that indicated Hamas’s use of the area,” it added.

“The (Israeli army) is 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.”


The Hamas-run government media office said: “The Israeli occupation committed a horrific massacre by bombarding intensively and intentionally the UNRWA’s Barkasat displacement centre northwest of Rafah Governorate”, referring to the UN Palestinian refugee agency.

The strikes “led to the death of 30 martyrs and dozens of injured”, it said, adding that Israeli forces had bombed the UNRWA centre with “seven missiles”.

Gaza’s civil defence agency said Israeli strikes had killed and wounded at least 50 people in the area, where it said 100,000 displaced people live.

Medical charity Doctors Without Borders said 15 dead people had been brought to a facility that it supports.

The ICRC said one of its field hospitals was receiving an “influx of casualties seeking care for injuries and burns” and reported that other hospitals were also receiving a large number of patients.

“Our teams are doing their best to save lives,” the ICRC said in a statement.

Strikes in other areas of Rafah were also reported late Sunday, with the Kuwait Specialized Hospital saying it had received the bodies of three people, including a pregnant woman.

Israel launched a ground operation on Rafah in early May despite widespread opposition over concerns for civilians sheltering there.

Earlier on Sunday, Israel’s army said at least eight rockets were fired towards central areas of the country from Rafah.

Hamas’s armed wing said in a post on Telegram it had targeted Tel Aviv “with a large rocket barrage in response to the Zionist massacres against civilians”.

Later Sunday, the Israeli military said in a statement its air force had carried out strikes on Rafah in response.

“The rocket launcher, which was situated near two mosques in the area of Rafah, was struck by the (Israeli Air Force) shortly after,” it said. — AFP