Dozens of people, including children, have been killed as “extremely intense” Israeli airstrikes and shelling pounded multiple locations in Rafah overnight Monday, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society, as international alarm mounts over Israel’s planned ground offensive in the southern Gazan city.
More than 100 people were killed due to Israeli airstrikes as warplanes targeted different areas of the city and helicopters fired machine guns along the border areas, the PRCS said early Monday.
The Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza said 94 people lost their lives. CNN cannot independently verify either number. The discrepancy likely exists because the health ministry only updates death toll numbers after bodies have been identified. Both groups warned the figure was likely to rise and the PRCS said people remained trapped beneath the rubble.
The director of Abu Yousef Al-Najjar Hospital said medical facilities in Rafah “cannot handle the large number of injuries due to the Israeli occupation’s bombardment.”
Footage obtained by CNN showed a chaotic scene inside Rafah’s Al Kuwaiti hospital, with medics trying to resuscitate a motionless child in one scene and another showing doctors treating a wounded man on the hospital floor. In another video a woman was inconsolable as she held a child’s body wrapped in white cloth.
At least two mosques and around a dozen homes were targeted in the strikes, the Rafah municipality said Monday.
The Israeli military confirmed it conducted a “series of strikes” on what it said were targets in the Shaboura area of Rafah and that two Israeli hostages were rescued in a “special operation”.
In a joint statement, the Israel Defense Forces, Israel Security Agency Shin Bet and Police identified the hostages as Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, and said they were kidnapped by Hamas on October 7 from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak.