‘Gaza Is Hell On Earth’: World Condemns Israeli Strike On Rafah Tent

Rafah Attack: Disturbing videos shared on social media show severely burned bodies and a man holding what appears to be the headless body of a small child. Here is how the world reacted.

A medic in the image moves a child killed in Israeli airstrike | Photo: AP

At least 40 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a camp for displaced civilians in Rafah, southern Gaza, late on Sunday. The strike hit an area where people were sheltering in tents, sparking a fire that swept across the camp, according to local officials.

Images from the scene show the area engulfed in flames, with Palestinians fleeing in panic. Disturbing videos shared on social media show severely burned bodies and a man holding what appears to be the headless body of a small child.

The attack has drawn widespread condemnation from world leaders, just days after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to halt its offensive on Rafah city, where more than a million people have sought refuge.

As global outrage mounted,  Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said it had targeted two senior Hamas leaders, did not strike a designated humanitarian area and took steps to reduce the risk of harming civilians, but said a full probe would be conducted into "the deaths of civilians in the area of the strike."

Here Is How The World Reacted:

  • The United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) said the images from Rafah are yet another testament that Gaza is “hell on earth”. 

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country would do “everything possible” to hold “barbaric” Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to account over the deadly strikes. “We will do everything possible to hold these barbarians and murderers accountable who have nothing to do with humanity,” he said.

  • Italy's Defence Minister Guido Crosetto, in one of the strongest criticisms the country has made so far, said the Israeli attacks were no longer justifiable. “There is an increasingly difficult situation, in which the Palestinian people are being squeezed without regard for the rights of innocent men, women and children who have nothing to do with Hamas and this can no longer be justified,” he said. 

  • French President Emmanuel Macron said he was "outraged" by the strikes, adding that "these operations must stop."

  • Ireland’s Foreign Minister Micheal Martin stated:“One cannot bomb an area like that without shocking consequences in terms of innocent children and civilians. We would urge Israel to stop, to stop now, in terms of the military operation in Rafah.”

  • Jagmeet Singh, a Canadian legislator and leader of the New Democratic Party, posted on X: “The world is failing the people of Gaza. Canada is failing the people of Gaza.”

  • Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said the bombing of Rafah was “one more day with innocent Palestinian civilians being killed”. He said the gravity of the attack “is even larger” because it comes after the ICJ order directing Israel to halt its operation in Rafah and the rest of Gaza.

  • Humza Yousaf, the former first minister of Scotland, posted on X: “Innocent men, women & children dismembered and burnt alive. Bear witness to the images and ask yourself, are you on the right side of history?”

  • Norway’s Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said the attacks are a “material breach of the decision of the highest court of the world”. He added: “We’ve had a compulsory order from the International Court of Justice ordering Israel to stop its attack in Rafah. It is compulsory. It’s binding.”

  • The African Union Commission under Moussa Mahamat Faki, said the ICJ order must be “urgently enforced if global order is to prevail”. 

Arab nations, including Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, also condemned the strike, with Qatar warning it could hinder attempts to broker a deal for a ceasefire and the release of Israeli hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza.

Around 80 per cent of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have fled their homes, severe hunger is widespread and U.N. officials say parts of the territory are experiencing famine. The death toll continues to mount, with at least 36,050 Palestinians killed and 81,026 injured since Israel's military offensive began on October 7.