Netanyahu vows to continue war amid air strike condemnation

Wednesday, 29 May 2024 02:24 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

BBC: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to continue the war against Hamas amid international condemnation of an air strike that killed scores of Palestinians in Rafah on Sunday.

At least 45 people were killed, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, while hundreds more were treated for severe burns, fractures and shrapnel wounds.

Mr Netanyahu said the strike was a “tragic mishap” but added: “I don’t intend to end the war before every goal has been achieved.”

He said it was vital that Israel took “every precaution possible” to protect civilians, and insisted that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) were using their “best efforts not to harm those uninvolved” in the conflict.

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday, at Algeria’s request, to discuss the Rafah strike.

In a statement on Monday, UN secretary general António Guterres said the strike had “killed scores of innocent civilians who were only seeking shelter from this deadly conflict”.

“There is no safe place in Gaza. This horror must stop,” he said.

International organisations have lined up to condemn the strike, with the EU insisting that Israel respect a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) last week to halt strikes on Rafah. The bloc’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, called Sunday’s strike “horrifying”.

Despite the ICJ ruling, Israel has pledged to continue with the invasion of Rafah, with officials insisting the ruling left room for the attack to comply with international law.

The UN’s human rights chief, Volker Turk, said the attack suggested that there had been “no apparent change in the methods and means of warfare used by Israel that have already led to so many civilian deaths”.

Israel’s military campaign in Gaza began after gunmen from Hamas attacked Israel on 7 October, killing about 1,200 people and taking 252 others back to Gaza as hostages.

More than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war since then, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry.