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US is ‘deeply saddened’ by Israeli attack on Rafah camp that killed dozens, but will wait for investigation

The State Department expressed “deeply saddened” by the Israeli airstrike on the Rafah IDP camp that killed dozens of Palestinians on Sunday and sparked worldwide outrage, but U.S. officials are waiting for an investigation before taking any action.

Graphic videos and photos shared online after the strike show a person appearing to have been burned alive, the bodies of burned women and children, and a man holding the body of a child who had apparently been decapitated.

According to the AP, at least 50 Palestinians were killed and dozens injured in the attack, which targeted an area filled with tents, many of which were burned. Gauze sanitary authorities.

Witnesses say another 37 people were killed by Israeli shelling and airstrikes on Tuesday, with most of them hiding in tents in the same area where dozens were killed in Sunday’s attacks. They also said that Israeli tanks had entered downtown Rafah.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Tuesday that the United States had contacted Israel to demand an investigation and express concerns about the first attack.

“(The Israeli army) continues to investigate the matter and has promised that the investigation will be quick, comprehensive and transparent. We will follow these results closely,” he said.

The statement was in stark contrast to the outpouring of immediate global condemnation from world leaders, aid groups and concerned citizens over the past few days while the White House remained largely silent.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he was “outraged by the Israeli attacks that have killed many people displaced in Rafah.”

“These operations must end. There are no safe areas for Palestinian civilians in Rafah,” he added, calling for an immediate ceasefire.

Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike that left displaced people in Rafah in the Gaza Strip.  (related press)Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike that left displaced people in Rafah in the Gaza Strip.  (related press)

Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike that left displaced people in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. (related press)

United Nations Secretary-General Antònio Guterres gave an equally strong response. “I condemn Israel’s actions that have resulted in the deaths of dozens of innocent civilians who were merely seeking refuge from this deadly conflict,” he added. he said in X “There is no safe place in Gaza. This horror must end.”

Moamen, 27, who was displaced from the very north of Gaza and was in the targeted camp on Sunday, said most people in the area had been told it was in a humanitarian zone and had no money to go anywhere else.

“I heard three rockets and a huge, very powerful explosion that shook the place. It appears that the rockets used were of an incendiary nature as a fire broke out in the area,” he said.

“It was a terrifying scene. I saw quartered body parts and charred bodies, very extensive damage to the tents of displaced people over a large area,” he added.

The strike came just two days after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to “immediately halt its military offensive” in Rafah in a landmark emergency ruling that invoked the Genocide Convention.

The attack is likely to increase pressure on Biden to reassess his support for Israel’s war in Gaza after he pledged to refrain from possessing offensive weapons by the longtime U.S. ally if it launches a major operation in Rafah.

Biden has repeatedly expressed his strong opposition to the major offensive in Rafah, which has become the last refuge for more than a million Palestinians who have fled the war raging elsewhere in Gaza. This is where most aid agencies operate.

In a March interview with MSNBC, asked if the Israeli invasion of Rafah would be a red line for him, he replied: “It is a red line, but I will never leave Israel. Israel’s defense remains critical.”

His officials have repeatedly said the United States would not support a “major military operation” in southern Gaza City without a “credible… feasible” plan to protect civilians.

Miller said the Israeli operation in Gaza was not on the “scale” of previous operations that have raised U.S. concerns, but said the United States was “watching closely.”

Vice President Kamala Harris, asked whether the attack crossed Biden’s red line, had no comment but said: “The word tragic doesn’t even begin to describe it.”

The Israeli army quickly responded to Sunday’s attack, saying its air force had struck at approximately Hamas combined with “precision munitions and based on accurate intelligence”, killing two Hamas officers in the process. However, the next day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a speech before the Israeli parliament, called the incident a “tragic misfortune” and promised to launch an investigation.

The Israeli army said Tuesday it was investigating the possibility that the tents were set on fire by a secondary explosion caused by weapons stored near the impact site. During his briefing, Miller repeated this claim by Israeli forces, explaining that he could not say with certainty whether it was accurate or whether Israeli forces could.