Thousands in Paris demonstrate near Israeli Embassy after deadly Rafah strike

Pro-Palestinian protests against Israel also held in Spain amid global outcry over IDF attack targeting Hamas officials in which dozens of Gazans also reported killed

Protesters take part in a demonstration called by French organization "France Palestine Solidarite" in Paris, on May 27, 2024. (Sami KARAALI / AFP)
Protesters take part in a demonstration called by French organization "France Palestine Solidarite" in Paris, on May 27, 2024. (Sami KARAALI / AFP)

About 10,000 people took part in a demonstration near the Israeli embassy in Paris on Monday after an IDF strike targeting senior Hamas figures reportedly killed dozens of displaced Palestinians in Rafah.

The demonstration gathered a few hundred meters (yards) from the embassy in the center of the French capital before protesters chanted “We are all Gaza children,” “Free Gaza” and other pro-Palestinian slogans.

Protests were also held Monday in Madrid and Barcelona.

The demonstrations were organized a day after Israel’s attack on Hamas targets in Rafah which set off a fire in a tent city where 45 people died, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. The strike targeted and killed the commander of Hamas’s so-called West Bank headquarters — charged with advancing attacks against Israel in and from the West Bank — as well as another top member of the unit.

The strike drew fiercer condemnations from the European Union, the United Nations, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, France, and others, who called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. The US meanwhile lamented the “devastating” and “heartbreaking” images from the strike, which is being investigated by an independent military body responsible for investigating unusual incidents amid the war triggered by Hamas’s October 7 terror onslaught.

“It is a massacre too many,” said François Rippe of the Association France-Palestine Solidarity group that organized the rally, which the Paris police service said involved about 10,000 people.

“They start a fire in a camp for displaced, they burn people and we (France) don’t even summon the Israeli ambassador to ask for an account. It is just not acceptable,” Rippe added.

Protestors hold signs reading “Boycott Israel, It worked with South-Africa” and use imagery comparing Israel to Nazis as they gather during a pro-Palestinian demonstration, in front of the Spanish foreign ministry in Madrid, on May 27, 2024. (Thomas Coex/AFP)

One large banner at the rally showed presidents Emmanuel Macron of France Joe Biden of the United States and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the slogan “it is humanity they are assassinating.”

The army said it carried out the attack after receiving intelligence that senior Hamas commanders Yassin Rabia and Khaled Najjar were in the area. It claimed that it took “many steps” to reduce civilian harm and believed that non-combatants would be protected.

A military source said that two missiles with a “reduced in size” warhead, which were adapted for such targets, were used in the strike.

The IDF added that the strike did not take place in the designated “humanitarian zone” in the al-Mawasi region on the coast, where the military has called Palestinians to evacuate to in recent weeks. Palestinians say that the zone is completely overcrowded, forcing them to find adjacent areas to shelter.

Netanyahu, in the Knesset on Monday, lamented the tragedy. “Despite our efforts not to harm them, there was a tragic mishap. We are investigating the incident,” he said. “For us, it’s a tragedy; for Hamas it’s a strategy.”

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