29 May 2024 In the wake of four deadly days where dozens of people seeking safety in Rafah in southern Gaza have been killed and hundreds wounded, Save the Children is calling for urgent action to protect civilians in Rafah and across the Gaza strip.

The attacks come less than a week after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Israel to “immediately” halt its military offensive in Rafah, to protect lives and let in essential aid supplies. Instead, brutal violence in Rafah has escalated, with at least 66 people killed and hundreds more wounded, including children.

Rafah has been under constant bombardment since the ICJ ruling on Friday. According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza and the UN, at least 21 people were killed, including women and children, in a major attack on Tuesday that hit a displaced persons camp in Rafah . The ministry said 64 people were wounded, with 10 in a critical condition. On Sunday, at least 45 people were killed and 250 injured, the majority women and children, in an Israeli attack on a camp for those displaced from the southern city of Rafah, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza.

Xavier Joubert, Save the Children’s Country Director in the occupied Palestinian Territory, said:

“In a conflict already characterised by civilian harm, we are staggered by this further escalation of violence against children and families, more so that it comes just days after the new ICJ ruling ordering Israel to cease its military activity in Rafah. The ICJ’s ruling creates legal obligations which must be adhered to. Instead, these obligations are being categorically ignored.

“What more evidence do leaders need to show there is absolutely nowhere safe for children and families in Gaza? They are permanently, constantly, fleeing for their lives, from one danger zone to another. And they’re not fleeing randomly – they’re going to the areas that Israel directed them to go to “for their own safety”. Then they are being attacked.

“For those who haven’t yet been hit by explosive weapons fired directly into civilian areas, they are suffering the slow, agonizing effects of starvation. Children’s mental and physical health is being pushed beyond breaking point, as they suffer unimaginable mental harm from the violence, serious physical injuries, including the loss of body parts, and the loss of families, homes, and their schools.

“The UN Security Council meets again today to pass a resolution to end the killing in Gaza. All eyes are on Rafah. The world is watching how leaders react and will judge their decision to either save lives or condemn the people of Gaza to further suffering.

“We strongly condemn any expansion of military operations in Rafah and continued attacks on families across Gaza. The only way to save children’s lives is an immediate, definitive ceasefire.”