Israel-Gaza live updates: Netanyahu calls strike on Rafah that killed 50 a ‘tragic mishap’

Written by on May 28, 2024

Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah on May 27, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas militant group. (Photo by EYAD BABA/AFP via Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) — As the Israel-Hamas war crosses the seven-month mark, negotiations are apparently stalled to secure the release of hostages taken by the terrorist organization, and Israeli forces continue to launch incursions in the southern Gazan town of Rafah ahead of a possible large-scale invasion.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

May 27, 4:30 PM
Kuwait Specialized hospital in Rafah out of service

The Kuwait Specialized Hospital in Rafah, one of its largest, announced that the hospital had been out of service due to the expansion of the Israeli military operation on the city and the repeated and deliberate targeting of the hospital’s vicinity, hospital’s director Suhaib Al-Hams said Sunday.

The Israeli occupation repeatedly targeted the hospital, the most recent of which was targeting the hospital gate, which led to the death of two of the staff working there, as well as the injury of five members of the medical staff in a previous targeting, Al-Hams said in a press statement received by Sanad News Agency.

“We announce that the Kuwait Specialized Hospital has been out of service and the working medical teams have been transferred to the field hospital that is being prepared in the Al-Mawasi area,” Al-Hams said.

May 27, 3:39 PM
Israel strike hits fuel tank, causing large fire: US official

The U.S. received information from the Israelis overnight that they believe shrapnel or something else from the strike ignited a fuel tank 100 meters away, which engulfed a tent, creating a massive fire, according to a U.S. official.

The U.S. does not have information to confirm or dispute that information. The U.S. is in the process of understanding what has happened, waiting for Israel to conduct its own investigation and determining what action to take next, according to the official.

The U.S. maintains that while they’ve warned about a major ground offensive in Rafah, that’s not what’s happening, according to the official.

May 27, 3:37 PM
Hamas leader says Rafah strike shows Israel is defying international law

Commenting on the Rafah strike that killed 50 people, Hamas released a statement saying Israel’s attack on Rafah is like “the announcement of Netanyahu’s government’s defiance of international justice decisions,” referring to the International Court of Justice’s decision last week ordering Israel to stop its operation in Rafah.

“The massacre committed in the areas where its considered safe area,” Hamas leader Osama Hamdan said. “The timing of these murders during the last two days is like the announcement of Netanyahu’s government’s defiance of international justice decisions.”

May 27, 6:17 PM
Netanyahu calls strike on Rafah a ‘tragic mishap’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the strike on Rafah which killed at least 50 Palestinians Sunday, a “tragic mishap,” in a speech to Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, Monday.

“We are fighting with force in the north of the Gaza Strip, in its center, its south and in Rafah. In Rafah we have already evacuated about a million uninvolved residents and despite our best efforts not to harm the un-involved, unfortunately a tragic mishap happened last night. We are investigating the case and will draw the conclusions because this is our policy,” Netanyahu said.

May 27, 2:45 PM
Death toll from Israeli strike rises to 50

At least 50 people have been confirmed dead in Israel’s strike on Rafah, with a number of victims still under the rubble, the Gaza Health Ministry said in a statement Monday. Ambulance and civil defense crews cannot reach them the victims, the statement noted.

Since Oct. 7, 36,050 people have been killed in Gaza and 81,026 others have been injured.

“Never before in history has such a large number of mass killing tools been amassed and employed together in front of the world as is happening now in Gaza, where the population is deprived of water, food, medicine, electricity, and fuel, crushing the infrastructure, destroying all institutions, disrupting sanitation, spreading epidemics, crushing the health system, implementing the siege, closing crossings, and preventing the entry of medical supplies and delegations,” the Gaza Health Ministry said.

May 27, 2:15 PM
Egyptian border guard killed in shooting at Rafah border

An Egyptian border guard was killed in a shooting in the Rafah border area with Gaza, Egypt’s military spokesman said in a statement on Monday.

“The Egyptian armed forces, through the competent authorities, are investigating a shooting incident in the Rafah border area which led to the martyrdom of one of the security personnel on duty,” the statement said.

The Israeli military had earlier reported an exchange of fire on the Egyptian border and said it was discussing the incident with Egypt.

“A few hours ago (Monday), a shooting incident occurred on the Egyptian border. The incident is under review and discussions are being held with the Egyptians,” the IDF said.

Initial investigations into an incident that killed an Egyptian border guard indicate the incident occurred while there was an exchange of fire between Israeli forces and “the Palestinian resistance,” an Egyptian security source told Egypt’s state-affiliated Al Qahera News TV on Monday.

In October 2023, weeks after the war started, Israel said one of its military tanks mistakenly fired at an Egyptian position near the border with Gaza. Egypt said at the time that several army personnel were slightly injured.

Tensions between Egypt and Israel have escalated after Israeli forces earlier this month seized control of the Rafah border crossing, a key entry point for humanitarian aid. Egypt said it would not reopen its side of the crossing unless it is operated by Palestinians and accused Israel of preventing aid deliveries.

May 27, 1:52 PM
UNRWA commissioner general calls scenes of Rafah after strike ‘hell on earth’

The images that have emerged after the Israeli strike on Rafah are a “testament to how Rafah has turned into hell on earth,” Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, said in a post on X.

“Children and women living in tented plastic makeshift shelters are among the killed. Many were injured. Others were reportedly burnt to death. The images from last night are testament to how Rafah has turned into hell on earth,” Lazzarini said went on.

Some UNRWA staff are unaccounted for and it’s very hard to establish contact with UNRWA teams in Rafah, Lazzarini said, adding that the UNRWA is doing its best to bring aid to people in need in Gaza.

“UNRWA is doing everything possible not to interrupt the delivery of humanitarian assistance. But with every day passing, providing assistance & protection becomes nearly impossible,” he said.

-ABC News’ Ellie Kaufman

May 27, 1:02 PM
White House says images out of Rafah are ‘heartbreaking’ but maintains Israel has ‘a right’ to go after Hamas

The “devastating images” coming out of Rafah are “heartbreaking,” a White House National Security Council spokesperson said in a statement Monday, adding that even though Israel “has a right to go after” Hamas, the country also has to protect civilians.

“Israel has a right to go after Hamas, and we understand this strike killed two senior Hamas terrorists who are responsible for attacks against Israeli civilians,” the spokesperson said. “But as we’ve been clear, Israel must take every precaution possible to protect civilians.”

The spokesperson also said that the U.S. is engaging with the Israeli authorities to figure out “what happened” in addition to the IDF investigation.

-ABC News’ Michelle Stoddart

May 27, 12:18 PM
‘Outraged’: Macron calls for immediate cease-fire after Rafah attack

French President Emmanuel Macron condemned Israel’s attack on Rafah that left at least 45 people dead, saying he was “outraged” and called for “respect for international law” and an “immediate cease-fire.”

“Outraged by the Israeli strikes which caused numerous victims among the displaced in Rafah. These operations must stop. There are no safe areas in Rafah for Palestinian civilians. I call for full respect for international law and an immediate ceasefire,” Macron said in a post on X.

The Israel Defense Forces claimed it took several measures to protect civilians. The strike is now under investigation.

“The General Staff’s Fact-Finding and Assessment Mechanism is investigating the circumstances of the deaths of civilians in the area of the strike. The IDF regrets any harm to uninvolved civilians during combat,” the IDF said in a statement.

The White House has not commented on the attack yet, and the Israeli prime minister’s office has not released a statement.

-ABC News’ Ellie Kaufman

May 27, 7:58 AM
Dozens killed, hundreds injured in Sunday Rafah strike, Gaza ministry says

Forty-five people were killed and 249 were injured in an IDF strike on Rafah on Sunday, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said Monday.

Action Aid UK had on Sunday placed the death toll higher, saying at least 50 people were killed.

IDF officials said the strike had targeted “significant Hamas terrorists” who were operating in a Hamas compound.

“The IDF is aware of reports indicating that as a result of the strike and fire that was ignited several civilians in the area were harmed,” IDF officials said on social media. “The incident is under review.”

-ABC News’ Joe Simonetti and Kevin Shalvey

May 26, 6:44 PM
IDF claims 2 top Hamas officials killed in Rafah airstrike

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) claimed two top Hamas officials were killed in the deadly airstrike in western Rafah Sunday night.

The IDF said Hamas’ Chief of Staff in the Judea and Samaria wing, Yassin Rabia, and an additional senior Hamas official, Khaled Nagar, were both killed.

“Hamas’ Judea and Samaria wing is responsible for the planning, funding, and carrying out of terror attacks throughout Judea and Samaria and within Israel,” the IDF said in a statement Sunday.

The IDF claimed Rabia was responsible for “numerous murderous terror attacks, including in 2001 and 2002, in which IDF soldiers were killed.”

The IDF also claimed Nagar “directed shooting attacks and other terrorist activities in Judea and Samaria, and transferred funds intended for Hamas’ terrorist activities in the Gaza Strip.”

“Previously, Khaled Nagar carried out several deadly terror attacks between 2001-2003 which led to the deaths of several Israeli civilians and the injury and death of several Israeli soldiers,” the IDF claimed.

The airstrike in Rafah on Sunday also resulted in the deaths of at least 50 individuals, including civilians, according to Action Aid UK.

May 26, 6:18 PM
Death toll in Rafah airstrike rises to 50: Action Aid UK

The death toll in the IDF airstrike that hit western Rafah Sunday night has risen to at least 50 individuals, including civilians, according to Action Aid UK.

The organization said Israeli fighter jets launched eight missiles at makeshift shelters housing internally displaced persons next to UNRWA warehouses stocking vital aid.

“We are outraged and heartbroken by the recent attacks in West Rafah,” Action Aid UK said in a statement Sunday.

“These shelters were supposed to be safe havens for innocent civilians, yet they became targets of brutal violence,” the organization continued. “Children, women, and men are being burned alive under their tents and shelters.”

Action Aid UK expects the number of casualties to rise.

-ABC News’ Victoria Beaule

May 26, 5:49 PM
At least 35 killed, including civilians, in airstrike on Rafah: Gaza Ministry of Health

A deadly airstrike has killed at least 35 people inside western Rafah, near the UNRWA logistics base in Tal Al-Sultan, according to officials at the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health.

Numerous individuals remain stuck in a fire that resulted from the airstrike and in the tents destroyed by the bombardment.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed the airstrike to ABC News in a statement on Sunday and acknowledged that civilians were harmed as a result of the strike.

“A short while ago, an IDF aircraft struck a Hamas compound in Rafah in which significant Hamas terrorists were operating. The strike was carried out against legitimate targets under international law, using through the use of precise munitions and on the basis of precise intelligence that indicated Hamas’ use of the area,” the IDF said.

“The IDF 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 IDF continued, adding, “The incident is under review.”

-ABC News’ William Gretsky

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