May 28, 2024 | Flash Brief

Palestinian Munitions May Have Caused Rafah Blaze

May 28, 2024 | Flash Brief

Palestinian Munitions May Have Caused Rafah Blaze

Latest Developments

Preliminary findings of an Israeli investigation into a May 26 airstrike against Hamas commanders indicate that the scenes of carnage among civilians in the southern Gaza city of Rafah may have been caused by a cache of explosives concealed by terrorists.

The incident, which killed dozens of civilians in a camp for displaced Palestinians, has intensified international scrutiny of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) tactics three weeks into a ground offensive in Rafah — the last Hamas stronghold in the Gaza Strip.   

Releasing the interim findings of an ongoing investigation, IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari pushed back against Palestinian allegations that heavy bombs of the kind the Biden administration declined to resupply to Israel this month were used in the strike.

“We used the smallest munition that our jet fighters can use” said Hagari, referring to Small Diameter Bombs.

Hagari also said that the IDF is investigating the possibility that a nearby cache of weapons stored by terrorists, of which Israel was unaware, had exploded, adding that it remained unclear whether that explosion was caused by the IDF strike.

Expert Analysis

“Even as they address the difficult but necessary task of moving 1 million Gazan civilians to safety and destroying the remaining Hamas battalions in Rafah, the Israelis face what appears to be another blood libel against them. While the IDF investigates what happened, Hamas spokesmen are putting out instant assertions of murderous malice that are spun out by those in the media uninterested in facts and quick to assume the worst of Israel. The Biden administration should be commended for reserving judgment on this incident as the investigation proceeds.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“If Hamas would surrender and return the over 100 hostages still held in Gaza, the war could have been over months ago. Instead, Hamas continues to target Israeli civilians while deeply embedded amongst civilians in Gaza. The IDF is justified in its military action in Rafah to attack terrorists who continue to target Israeli civilians. Israel has expressed regret for harm to civilians in this war, but it is Hamas that is responsible for the suffering of Gazans.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

IDF Tanks in Rafah

Palestinians reported seeing IDF tanks in central Rafah for the first time. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the United Nations agency dedicated to Palestinian refugees and their descendants, said around 1 million civilians had left the city since the ground operation began on May 6.

Israel Investigates Civilian Casualties Following Strike on Hamas Officials in Rafah,” FDD Flash Brief

Top UN Court Calls for Israel to End Anti-Hamas Operations in Rafah,” FDD Flash Brief

As Israel Presses Rafah Operation, Civilians Evacuate En Masse,” FDD Flash Brief

Issues:

Israel Israel at War Palestinian Politics