IDF Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari delivered an address this afternoon (Tuesday) in English on the war between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization and the airstrike in the Rafah area in which 30 people were reportedly killed on Sunday.

Hagari said that contrary to Hamas's claims, the airstrike was carried out over a kilometer from the humanitarian area the IDF had civilians evacuate to from Rafah.

In the strike, which killed two Hamas commanders, the IAF used two 17-kilogram (37 pound) warheads, among the smallest in its arsenal, in an effort to avoid civilian casualties.

He said that the fire caused by the airstrike could not have been caused by the munitions used by the IDF and presented a conversation between two Gazans saying that the Israeli strike was not that strong and that the fire was likely caused by munitions or other materials kept by terrorist organizations in the area.

Location of airstrike
Location of airstrikeIDF Spokesperson

"On Sunday night, we eliminated senior Hamas terrorists in a targeted strike on a compound used by Hamas, in Rafah," Hagari said.

"The strike was based on precise intelligence that indicated that these terrorists, who were responsible for orchestrating and executing terror attacks against Israelis, were meeting inside the specific structure we targeted," he added.

Hagari noted, "These terrorists were responsible for the deaths of Israelis and they were actively commanding operations that could have killed even more. Their deaths saved lives."

"Sadly, following the strike, due to unforeseen circumstances, a fire ignited tragically taking the lives of Gazan civilians nearby," he said,

"Despite our efforts to minimize civilian casualties during the strike the fire that broke out was unexpected and unintended," he said. "This is a devastating incident which we did not expect. We are investigating what caused the fire that resulted in this tragic loss of life. The investigation is ongoing."

"I will now share the facts that we’ve gathered so far," he said. "As you can see in our aerial surveillance from the time of the strike we targeted a closed structure away from the tent area."

"As you can see there are no tents in the immediate vicinity of the structure that we targeted. Contrary to reports, we conducted the strike outside the area that we designated as a humanitarian area and called civilians to evacuate to.

"Our strike was over a kilometer and a half away from the Al-Mawasi humanitarian area. What we call the safer zone," he said.

"Here is where Hamas claims we struck. And here is where we conducted our strike against the Hamas senior commanders outside the area designated as a humanitarian area.

"Our aerial surveillance was filming prior to the strike in order to minimize civilian harm.

"Here is the footage from our strike of the specific structure where the senior Hamas commanders were meeting.

"The strike was conducted using two munitions with small warheads suited for this targeted strike. We’re talking about munition with 17 kilos of explosive material. This is the smallest munition that our jets can use."

"Following this strike, a large fire ignited for reasons that are still being investigated. Our munition alone could not have ignited a fire of this size. I want to repeat it - our munition alone could not have ignited a fire of this size. Our investigation seeks to determine what may have caused such a large fire to ignite.

"We are looking into all possibilities including the option that weapons stored in a compound next to our target, which we did not know of, may have ignited as a result of the strike.

"It should be noted, Hamas has been operating from this area since October 7th. Here in this satellite image, 43 meters from the structure we targeted, you can see Hamas rocket launchers. Hamas fired rockets from these launchers at Israel during their massacre on October 7th.

"We are also assessing footage documented by Gazans on the night of the strike, posted on social media, which appear to show secondary explosions, indicating that there may have been weapons in the area.

"Our signal intelligence intercepted some phone calls that reinforce this concern, raising the possibility that weapons stored in a nearby compound caught fire.

"We are working to verify the cause of the fire. It is still too early to be determined. Even when we do find the cause of the fire that erupted, it won’t make this situation any less tragic.

"We took a number of steps prior to the strike to avoid civilian casualties: aerial surveillance from above, using specific munitions aimed at minimizing collateral damage, delaying the attack in order to further assess expected civilian presence, and other means.

"This incident is being investigated by the General Staff's Fact-Finding and Assessment Mechanism, an independent and professional body, that is investigating the circumstances of those killed in the area of the strike.

"This investigation will be swift, comprehensive and transparent. Our war is against Hamas, not against the people of Gaza, which is why we convey deep sorrow for this tragic loss of life," Hagari concluded.