UN calls on Israel to probe Rafah strike as criticism builds

The United Nations’ Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland says he is “deeply troubled” by a strike that Hamas health authorities say killed at least 45 people in Rafah.

“I call upon the Israeli authorities to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into this incident, hold those responsible for any wrongdoing to account, and take immediate steps to better protect civilians,” the UN envoy says in a statement.

The IDF has announced that the incident will be probed by a high-level investigatory mechanism set up to look into such cases.

Wennesland also calls for an immediate ceasefire and the unconditional return of hostages kidnapped by Gazan terrorists from Israel on October 7.

Meanwhile, the African Union accuses Israel of flouting an International Court of Justice ruling that appeared to order a halt to military activity endangering Rafah civilians.

“With horrific overnight air strikes killing mostly Palestinian women & children… the State of Israel continues to violate international law with impunity and in contempt of an ICJ ruling two days ago ordering an end to its military action in Rafah,” AU Commission head Moussa Faki Mahamat says on X.

“The ICJ order must be urgently enforced if global order is to prevail,” he adds.

Israel says it was targeting two senior Hamas commanders, who it killed, and has indicated the strike likely sparked a blaze that spread to a nearby tent encampment.

In Ireland, Foreign Minister Micheal Martin says that “on top of the hunger, on top of the starvation, the refusal to allow aid in sufficient volumes, what we witnessed last night is barbaric.”

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