Rafah: Airstrike shows “complete disregard for the lives of civilians in Gaza”

“No single health care facility in Gaza can handle a mass casualty event such as this one."

On the night of May 26, the trauma stabilization point Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) supports in Tal al Sultan, Gaza, recorded 180 wounded patients and 28 dead after Israeli airstrikes hit a camp sheltering displaced people in a designated safe zone. Most of the patients we treated had shrapnel wounds, fractures, traumatic injuries, and burns. 

MSF strongly denounces this bloody attack, which comes just a few days after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Israel to halt all military operations in Rafah. We reiterate our urgent call for an immediate and sustained ceasefire. 

While Israeli forces described this attack as precise, with some civilians injured, the number of casualties resulting from these airstrikes shows otherwise.   

“Women and children were among the people that were brought to the stabilization point, and once again, civilians are paying the price of this war,” said Samuel Johann, MSF emergency coordinator in Gaza. “This Israeli attack on a populated camp in a so-called ‘safe zone’ in Rafah shows the complete disregard for the lives of civilians in Gaza.”

“We are shocked by the continuous attacks on civilians, and we have no word to describe the horror of what we’ve seen here in Gaza. This has to stop,” said Gaia Giletta, MSF nurse activity manager, in a voice note from Gaza. “A lot of these cases have critical, complex injuries that require advanced medical care, which is not available in Gaza, and with the border closed, we are not able to evacuate those patients.” 

“Though all the patients were stabilized and referred to field hospitals in Rafah, no single health care facility in Gaza can handle a mass casualty event such as this one,” Johann added. “The health system has been decimated and cannot cope any longer.”