Hamas health authority says 35 killed in Israeli strike near Rafah

General view of tents in which displaced Palestinians take refuge in, next to the Egyptian border with the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. An Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza city of Rafah hit tents housing displaced people, Palestinian medics said on 27 May evening. The Palestinian Red Crescent said on X that there were "numerous" people killed and injured in the bombardment north-west of Rafah. Abed Rahim Khatib/dpa

The Hamas-run health authority in Gaza on Monday said 35 people have been killed and dozens injured in an Israeli airstrike near the southern city of Rafah.

Most of the victims were women and children, the health authority said, describing the bombing on Sunday night as a "massacre."

The information could not initially be independently verified, but the Palestinian Red Crescent earlier said on the social media platform X that there were "numerous" people killed and injured in the bombardment north-west of Rafah.

Medics in the Gaza Strip on Sunday evening said at least 28 people were killed when the airstrike hit tents housing displaced people.

Footage from the scene showed the makeshift shelters on fire. It was not clear how many people were trapped or under the debris.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said that the air raid hit a designated humanitarian zone for those who had been forced to evacuate Rafah due to the Israeli fighting.

The aid organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) reported that a medical facility it supports in the area treated dozens of wounded and more than 15 dead people were brought to their trauma stabilization point.

"We are horrified by this deadly event, which shows once again that nowhere is safe. We continue to call for an immediate and sustained ceasefire in Gaza," MSF said on X.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said via X that two senior Hamas officials were killed in the airstrike.

"The strike was carried out against legitimate targets under international law, through the use of precise munitions and on the basis of precise intelligence that indicated Hamas' use of the area," the IDF said in a statement.

"The IDF is aware of reports indicating that, as a result of the strike and fire that was ignited, several civilians in the area were harmed. The incident is under review," the statement added.

The strike came just days after the International Court of Justice in The Hague ordered Israel to halt its assault on Rafah.

The war in Gaza was triggered by the unprecedented massacre of more than 1,200 people by militants from the Palestinian Islamist Hamas group and others on October 7.

Israel responded with massive airstrikes and a ground offensive. The criticism of Israel has grown as the death toll among Palestinians has increased. It currently stands at over 35,000 people dead, according to Hamas authorities in Gaza.