Israel Airstrike and Death of Egyptian Guard Ratchet Up Tensions

An Egyptian soldier was killed during a clash with Israeli troops at a Gaza border crossing on Monday while an Israeli airstrike on Sunday killed at least 40 Palestinians at a camp for displaced people, further inflaming regional tensions over the Israel-Hamas war.

Bloomberg
First Published27 May 2024
Israel Airstrike and Death of Egyptian Guard Ratchet Up Tensions
Israel Airstrike and Death of Egyptian Guard Ratchet Up Tensions

An Egyptian soldier was killed during a clash with Israeli troops at a Gaza border crossing on Monday while an Israeli airstrike on Sunday killed at least 40 Palestinians at a camp for displaced people, further inflaming regional tensions over the Israel-Hamas war.

Egypt’s military confirmed that a border guard died at the Rafah border crossing on Monday, in bloodshed that threatened to escalate tensions with Israel. 

Separately, the airstrike at the camp northwest of the Gazan city of Rafah drew international condemnation. Israel acknowledged the death of dozens of people in the strike, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called “a tragic mistake” in an address to the Knesset.

Israeli leaders said they were still investigating both incidents.

In the border clash, the Israel Defense Forces said “a shooting incident occurred on the Egyptian border,” and that discussions with Egypt were ongoing, without giving any more detail. 

Israel said the airstrike late Sunday at a Rafah tent community was based on “precise intelligence” and that it killed two “senior” officials from Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the US and European Union. But governments across the world were quick to condemn Israel for the strike. French President Emmanuel Macron said he was “outraged,” while EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he was “horrified.”

The White House said in a statement that images of innocent civilians killed in the strike were “heartbreaking.”

“Israel has a right to go after Hamas, and we understand this strike killed two senior Hamas terrorists who are responsible for attacks against Israeli civilians,” the National Security Council said in a statement. “But as we’ve been clear, Israel must take every precaution possible to protect civilians.”

Israeli troops started operations around the outskirts of Rafah, which lies in southern Gaza, early this month. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel will attack the city because it’s the last bastion of Hamas, an Iran-backed Islamist group, and several thousand of its fighters are lodged there.

The US and other countries fear mass casualties among the Palestinian civilians in Rafah and have urged Israel to cancel or sharply curtail an assault to prevent harm to innocents. The White House said Monday it was “actively engaging” with the IDF and partners in the region to better assess what had occured. 

The US and others have also voiced concerns about an Israeli attack on Rafah worsening ties with Egypt. The two Middle Eastern countries signed a peace deal in 1979, which is seen as crucial to Israel’s security.

Egypt has been highly vocal of the war in Gaza and consistently called on Israel to agree to a cease-fire.

The Israel-Hamas war began on Oct. 7 when thousands of Hamas fighters crossed into southern Israel from Gaza, killing 1,200 people and abducting 250. Israel’s counterattack has killed some 35,000 Gazans, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

With assistance from Justin Sink.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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