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All Eyes on Rafah?

May 31, 2024

by: Ilse Strauss

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IDF spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari

Friday, 31 May 2024 | The images grip your heart and haunt you late into the night. A fire roaring through make-shift shelters as soot-streaked figures scurry desperately to save the inhabitants within. Refugees with vacant eyes sifting through the ashes hours later for tokens of life that the flames didn’t consume. Mothers sobbing their sorrow heavenwards over the remains of children who perished in the fire. Oh yes! The images of devastation coming from a camp for displaced Palestinians in Rafah in what Hamas said was the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike were enough to make even those who stand with the Jewish state wonder, “How could Israel strike a designated humanitarian area?”

The short answer? Israel didn’t.

In fact, the civilian loss of life in what the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) described as “an intelligence-based precise strike that targeted senior Hamas terrorists” came as a shock to Israel. Why?

Overnight Sunday, Israel targeted two senior Hamas terrorists known for orchestrating and executing terror attacks against Israelis, using precise munitions carrying 34 kilograms [75 lb.] of explosives. They were located in a confirmed Hamas compound in Tal as-Sultan, Rafah, some 1.7 kilometers (1.1 mi) from the Al-Mawasi Humanitarian Area.

But how did a precision strike on a target nearly 2 kilometers (1.2 mi) away result in the tragic death of an alleged 45 civilians in a designated safe area? Simple answer. Hamas. The terror organization infamous for using its own people as human shields had set up an ammunition cache near the civilian area and over 100 meters (328 ft) away from the strike site. This stash caught fire, sparking the inferno that tragically claimed the lives of the Palestinian civilians.

The IDF isn’t alone in its claim. Clips of conversations between Palestinians in Rafah discussing the strike and the ensuing fire have been shared widely on social media. These Palestinians clearly identify the source of the fire as a Hamas weapons cache placed purposefully close to the humanitarian zone.

A clip posted by @AbuAliEnglish on X portrays the conversation between two Palestinian eyewitnesses of the fire. “Did they [Israel] attack a [Hamas] warehouse?” asks the first. “Not a warehouse. A vehicle filled with ammunition and weapons,” comes the answer. “That belongs to the guys [Hamas]?” the first queries. “Of course. Who else but Hamas,” comes the answer.

As the two men continue to discuss the deplorable sight, sparks caused by secondary explosions of the ammunition are clearly visible.

A second recording of a conversation between two Hamas members released by the IDF tells a similar story. “All the ammunition they [Hamas] had started exploding,” the first speaker says. “Bags of money were flying in the air.” “These [the ammunition that exploded] were really ours?” asks the second speaker. “Yes, this is an ammunition warehouse. I tell you. It exploded,” comes the answer. “I mean, the Jewish bombing wasn’t strong. It wasn’t a strong missile…And afterwards a lot of secondary explosions.”

This begs the question: why would anyone do something as evil as stash their weapons next to a refugee camp? Simple. To ensure that an Israeli strike—even a small, precision one with a legitimate terror target in its crosshairs—would cause such a civilian tragedy that Israel will be vilified in the international community, especially at a time when the international community chooses to side with a terror organization that gleefully filmed itself murdering civilians.

Sunday night’s tragedy sparked an international trend, with the phrase #AllEyesonRafah appearing across social media.

As world bodies, international leaders and students on college campuses called for retribution against Israel for the civilians that Hamas murdered. IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari explained why Israel would continue the Rafah campaign, “Hamas has been holding our hostages in Rafah, which is why our forces are operating in Rafah. Hamas is holding our hostages in living hell across our border in Gaza, including in Rafah. We will not stop fighting for their freedom.”

Posted on May 31, 2024

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 31, 2024)

Photo Credit: IDF Spokespersons Unit/wikimedia.com

Photo License: Wikimedia