All Eyes On Rafah As Israeli Forces Enter Safe Zones; Spain, Ireland And Norway Officially Recognize Palestinian State

Zinger Key Points
  • Gaza health authorities claim four Israeli tank shells killed 21 in a Rafah evacuation zone on Tuesday.
  • UN and US leaders condemned Sunday's Israeli airstrike; Israel denied responsibility for the deadly fire.

All eyes are on Rafah, the border city in the Gaza Strip adjacent to Egypt.

What Happened: Gaza health authorities say an Israeli tank shelling killed at least 21 people at a tent camp west of Rafah on Tuesday.

Israel’s military denied the strike.

The camp, a cluster of tents in Al-Mawasi, was designated a civilian evacuation zone, Reuters reported.

Israeli forces continued their offensive against the last stronghold of Hamas, defying the International Court of Justice’s warning and igniting international condemnation due to numerous civilian casualties.

On Sunday, Israeli airstrikes targeted two Hamas leaders in Rafah. The explosions caused a fire in a refugee tent camp, killing 45 Palestinians and wounding 200 others.

“The horror and suffering must stop immediately,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres condemned Israeli actions on social media platform X. U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris stated Tuesday at an event in Washington, DC, “the word ‘tragic' doesn't even begin to describe" the Israeli airstrike on Sunday that killed 45 Palestinians.

Israeli forces suggested that a hidden weapons cache might have caused the deadly blaze in southern Gaza's Rafah on Sunday.

"Despite our efforts to minimize civilian casualties during the strike, the fire that broke out was unexpected and unintended… Our munitions alone could not have ignited a fire of this size." IDF Spokesperson RAdm. Daniel Hagari said in press conference.

The military indicated that an airstrike targeting an adjacent area used small munitions unlikely to ignite such a fire on their own. The explosion and subsequent fire, which killed dozens of Palestinian civilians, were likely due to secondary explosions from combustible substances in the area.

The IDF emphasized that the strike aimed at Hamas leaders was not intended to harm civilians, and steps had been taken to ensure no women or children were in the targeted compound.

Meanwhile, Spain, Ireland, and Norway have formally recognized a Palestinian state, aiming to refocus attention on political solutions to the Middle East conflict. In response, Israel has withdrawn its ambassadors from these countries and formally reprimanded their envoys in Tel Aviv.

On Monday, European Union foreign ministers discussed for the first time the possibility of imposing sanctions on Israel if it does not comply with an International Court of Justice order.

Market Reactions: Rising tensions in the Middle East have not ignited major market reactions thus far. Israeli stocks, as tracked by the iShares MSCI Israel ETF EIS rose 0.4% Tuesday, while the shekel slightly weakened by 0.2% against the dollar.

Oil prices rallied instead, with the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light crude rising 2% to $80 a barrel, albeit for dynamics related to the broader demand-supply outlook.

Now Read: WTI Crude Hits $80, Notches Best Day In Over 2 Months: ‘Peak Oil Demand Still A Decade Away’

Image: Shutterstock

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