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Eleven dead in Israeli shelling near a hospital in Rafah

Eleven people died when aerial bombardment Israel hit displaced persons' tents near a hospital in Rafah, on the southern edge of the Gaza Strip, Hamas' health ministry said on Saturday.

For its part, the Israeli military said it carried out a “precision strike” against fighters from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an armed movement considered the second most powerful in the Gaza Stripassuring that there was “no damage to the hospital”.

“Eleven people were killed and around 50 others were injured, including children, by Israeli occupation forces who targeted displaced persons' tents and a gathering of people near the gate of Al Emirati Maternity Hospital” in Rafa, said the representative of its Ministry of Health HamasAshraf al-Kudra, stressing that the dead included an ambulance crew member.

Footage released on social networking sites, the authenticity of which was independently verified by AFP, shows bloodied wounded being given first aid.

An AFP journalist saw injured people being taken on stretchers to another hospital.

“Suddenly there was a big explosion. They (including the Israelis) bombed a location full of people (…) We have many dead”said a resident.

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called it “outrageous” that displaced people's tents were bombed.

“Healthcare personnel and civilians are not targets and must be protected at all times”he added, calling for the umpteenth time for Israel to “cease fire”.

In Rafah, on the closed border of the small coastal enclave with Egypt, which has been constantly bombarded recently by the Israeli army, some 1.5 million Palestinians have been trapped, many of whom have been displaced, many more than once, because of the war.

Possible creation of a humanitarian corridor in Gaza by sea

National Security Council spokesman John Kerby went on to clarify that the reference to the creation of a maritime corridor to provide greater amounts of humanitarian aid to Palestine is based on ongoing discussions between the US and the Republic of Cyprus.

“I think that the discussion we are having about a possible naval option (in order to deliver humanitarian aid) has to do with the recent discussions about possible use of Cyprus, for example, in the eventual implementation of part of this plan. I don't want to go into details now. This idea is still at a very early stage. There is a lot of work to be done,” he said during a press briefing.

At this stage, it cannot be considered certain that Cyprus will be called upon to contribute in any way, he stressed.

“I'm just saying that the discussion we're in now has certainly built on previous discussions we've had with partners in the region about what form such a plan might take. But, again, I note that we still have a long way to go and a lot of work on the maritime leg (of the humanitarian corridor) to implement it.”

Source: News Beast

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