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27 Apr, 2024 15:38

Israel struck zones in Gaza it had declared ‘safe’ – NBC

Investigation claims to have found that Palestinians have been killed in airstrikes on areas of Rafah IDF told public to go to
Israel struck zones in Gaza it had declared ‘safe’ – NBC

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have been bombing areas in southern Gaza that it had previously designated as safe zones, according to an NBC News investigation published on Friday.

The outlet examined seven deadly airstrikes between January and April filmed by its camera crews in the city of Rafah and the Al-Mawasi humanitarian zone and which resulted in the deaths of Palestinian civilians.

“The crews compiled the GPS coordinates of each strike, all of which hit an area identified by the Israeli military as an evacuation zone in an online interactive map it published on Dec. 1,” NBC wrote, noting that this map has not been updated and remains accurate, according to the IDF.

The map in question had previously been criticized by international humanitarian organizations and by Palestinians, as being confusing and hard to read, with many pointing out that at most times it isn’t even accessible to civilians on the ground, due to regular cellphone and internet blackouts.

Human Rights Watch program director Sari Bashi has told NBC that the attacks highlighted in the outlet’s investigation are not isolated. “People are fleeing to roads that the government told them to use to places where the Israeli government told them to go. And when they go there, they get killed” Bashi Said.

In one example provided by NBC, the IDF dropped leaflets in Gaza on December 18, telling residents to go to Rafah’s Tal Al Sultan, Al Zuhur and Al Shaboura neighborhoods, designating them as safe. The outlet’s investigation found that all three locations were later hit by airstrikes, resulting in the deaths of dozens of civilians.

When asked by NBC to comment on the seven highlighted airstrikes, the IDF reportedly claimed in an email to the outlet that it was “not aware of any strike at the provided coordinates and times.”

Meanwhile, the Israeli military has repeatedly accused Hamas militants of using civilians as human shields and has vowed to “act against Hamas wherever it operates,” while also claiming that it would commit to international law and distinguish between terrorists and civilians.

The IDF launched its offensive in Gaza following the October 7 Hamas attack on Israeli territory, which resulted in the deaths of over 1,200 people and saw some 250 taken hostage.

Israel’s response has so far claimed the lives of over 34,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health authorities.