Palestinians in Rafah describe ‘night of terror’ during rescue of Israeli hostages

Palestinians in Rafah describe ‘night of terror’ during rescue of Israeli hostages

JERUSALEM.- The Palestinians in Rafah described a night of fear as Israeli strikes hit the area early Monday, killing and wounding dozensaccording to the Gaza health ministry, and highlighting the cost of Israel’s military operation to free its hostages.

“I swear to God it was a indescribable night“, said Ghada al-Kurd37, who is among more than a million people sheltered in southern Gaza City. “The bombing was everywhere, we were convinced that the Israeli Army was invading Rafah”he added.

Palestinians mourn the death of a child in the Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip in the morgue of a hospital in Rafah, Monday, February 12, 2024 (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)Fatima Shbair – AP

Israel’s military said early Monday that it had carried out a “wave of attacks” against Rafah to cover soldiers who freed two Hamas hostages. The Gaza Health Ministry said that at least 67 people had died in the attacks and that it was the number of victims was likely to increase. The ministry’s figures do not distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Dr. Marwan al-Hamase, director of the Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital in Rafahsaid the hospital had received 100 injured during the night, along with 52 bodies.

Maher Abu Arar, spokesman for the Kuwait Hospital in Rafahsaid the hospital had received at least 15 bodies and 50 injured. “There were many mutilated bodies,” said Mr. Abu Arar, following the “successive and sudden” Israeli attacks.

Ms. al-Kurd said people in Rafah were panicking and considered evacuating overnight, but “no one even knew where to go.” She added in a voicemail that her young nieces “were crying and I was trying to calm them down,” even though she was also “very scared.”

Residents of Rafah are wondering whether they should evacuate the city before the expected Israeli ground offensive. But many of those who have already been displaced several times since the start of the war have said they have nowhere to go.

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