NBC News investigation reveals Israel was attacking the Gaza Strip, which it claimed was safe

TEL AVIV — An NBC News investigation into seven deadly airstrikes finds Palestinians were killed in the southern region. Gaza The area had been explicitly designated as a safe zone by the Israeli military.

The attacks took place between January and April, following Israeli artillery fire. Rapha Prime Minister from the sky Benjamin Netanyahu government He signaled his intention to launch a full-scale ground invasion of Gaza’s southernmost city, whose population has now swelled to more than 1 million people.

See more of this story on “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” tonight at 6:30pm ET/5:30pm CT.

NBC News camera crews captured the bloody aftermath of six attacks on mainland Rafah and one further north in the al-Mawasi humanitarian zone, which has been designated safe by Israel.

Crews collected GPS coordinates for each attack, all of which struck areas online that the Israeli military had identified as evacuation zones. Interactive map released on December 1st. The map has not been updated since then. israel defense forces He told NBC News in a statement Sunday that that remains accurate.

International aid agencies and Gazans say the map is confusing and difficult to read. It would also have been difficult for civilians to access it, as cellphone and internet services have been periodically cut off since the war began.

Sari Bashi, program director at Human Rights Watch, said in an interview that the incidents highlighted in the NBC News investigation are not isolated. “People are taking shelter where the Israeli government tells them to go, on the roads the government tells them to use,” said Basi, who has been tracking the humanitarian impact of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza. “And when they go there, they are killed.”

On December 18, the IDF issued a leaflet stating that the Tal al-Sultan and al-Zuhr districts of Rafah, as well as the al-Shaboula district, where a large refugee camp is located, are safe and urging residents to go there. was scattered. NBC News revealed that all three locations have since been hit by airstrikes.

Israeli officials have repeatedly said: Hamas Use hostages and civilians as human shields. Prime Minister Netanyahu, along with other Israeli officials, also said that the Israeli military was doing everything in its power to prevent civilian casualties.

Gaza health officials say more than 34,000 people have died in Gaza so far in the six-month war that began after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people and took more than 240 hostages. announced that he had died. Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly promised to invade Rafah to ensure Hamas’s “destruction or elimination.” This has raised concerns about the safety of evacuated civilians.

A map shared by IDF spokesman Avichai Adlai shows areas in the Gaza Strip where civilians should evacuate.  (@AvicayAdraee, via X)

A map shared by IDF spokesman Avichai Adlai shows areas in the Gaza Strip where civilians should evacuate. (@AvicayAdraee, via X)

NBC News reports that the Tal al-Sultan neighborhood in Rafah, which was deemed safe with leaflets dropped by the IDF on December 18, was targeted less than a month later, on January 9. revealed. The home of the family where 15 people were killed in the attack on Nofal, relatives said. “Many of my cousins ​​were killed,” one survivor, Ahmed Younis, told an NBC News reporter shortly after the attack. Younis added that he had moved into the house believing it would be safe, “but there is no safe place. The house fell on top of us.”

More than a month later, on February 12, a strike struck al-Shaboula refugee camp, which was also listed as a safe haven on IDF leaflets. NBC News crews photographed dozens of bodies, including women and children, in the aftermath of the strike, one of several in Rafah that night.

On April 20, al-Shaboula buildings were also destroyed in an air raid. Among the dead was Sabreen Sakani, who was 30 weeks pregnant at the time. Her baby, Sabreen Alou Joudeh, was born an orphan after doctors performed a post-mortem Caesarean section and rescued her from her mother’s lifeless body.

NBC news camera The moment a doctor resuscitated a newborn baby was captured. Her short life ended on Thursday when she passed away after battling a respiratory illness.

Rafa Baby Sabreen Judah born after her mother's murder (Mohammad Jajoo/Associated Press)Rafa Baby Sabreen Judah born after her mother's murder (Mohammad Jajoo/Associated Press)

Rafa Baby Sabreen Judah born after her mother’s murder (Mohammad Jajoo/Associated Press)

Areas that Israeli officials had publicly declared safe were also bombed. On November 4, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said at a press conference in Tel Aviv that there was no attack on al-Mawasi, a narrow seaside strip of land in the city of Khan Yunis, adding: “Anyone can enter the safe area.” “I promise,” he promised. “Place” is in that place. Since January 1, the Israel Defense Forces advised the people of X Island to evacuate to al-Mawashi 11 times, but the Israeli military has continued to attack the area. Palestinian officials said 14 people were killed on January 4, including three children who were killed in an attack on their tent. Video taken by NBC News reporters within an hour showed a large crater.

“If Al Mawashi is not safe, where can we go? No one will protect us,” said Kamal Saleh, who witnessed the strike that killed a total of 14 people.

NBC News sent the IDF the GPS coordinates of seven confirmed attacks in the safe zone. In an email, the IDF said it was “not aware of any strike at the coordinates and time provided” regarding the March 26 strike in the Tal al-Zuhr area. Additional he did not respond when asked about the coordinates of the six.

The Israel Defense Forces also accused Hamas of instructing people to ignore movement orders. “We will act against Hamas wherever it operates, in full compliance with international law, while distinguishing between terrorists and civilians,” the government said in a follow-up email.

Human Rights Watch’s Bashi said the Palestinians are trying to follow Israeli instructions. “People evacuate, they use the roads they are told to use, they go where they are told to go, and then they are hit by airstrikes and ground forces,” she said.

“Nowhere in Gaza is safe,” she added.

This article was first published NBCNews.com

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