Severe weather kills over 20 in several states; dangerous front continues eastward today – National & International News – MON 27May2024


Severe weather kills over 20 in several states; dangerous front continues eastward today.

Israeli strike on Rafah refugee camp kills at least 45; Netanyahu says “tragic mishap”.


Over 20 killed across several states this weekend by severe weather, which continues eastward today

Sunday was the busiest severe weather day in the US so far this year. There were 600 severe weather events in 20 states including high winds, heavy rains and flooding, hail, severe thunderstorms and 25 tornados were confirmed in five states. Nearly 600,000 residents in 13 states were without power last night. Over 300,000 are currently without power

This is a particularly deadly system. Over 20 people have been confirmed dead and more reports are coming in. So far: in Colorado (1 farmer and 34 of his cows killed by lighting), Texas (7), Oklahoma (2), Arkansas (8) and Kentucky (4),  and Alabama (1). 

In addition to their confirmed deaths, Texas reports hundreds of injuries, 200 homes and other structures destroyed and another 120 damaged. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said 106 of Texas’ 254 counties are under a disaster declaration. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear confirmed the four deaths in his state and said another was “fighting for their life”.

The storms are moving eastward today and over 120 million people across the east coast are under severe weather warnings. Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania have tornado warnings in effect.

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Israeli airstrike on Rafah refugee encampment kills at least 45; Netanyahu says “tragic mishap”

Last night, the Israeli military carried out an airstrike on a refugee encampment in Rafah, killing at least 45 people, many of them women and children burned alive. The encampment was in a registered “safe zone” for Gazans displaced by nearly 8 months of Israeli bombardment.

The strike was apparently retaliation for several rockets launched from Rafah (according to Israel) towards Tel Aviv yesterday, which caused little damage and no fatalities. Israel claims the strike killed two high-ranking Hamas operatives but so far has not identified them. While Israel’s military claims it struck a “Hamas compound,” even their own account doesn’t alleged that the rockets were launched from this encampment.

Following last week’s orders from the International Court of Justice demanding that Israel halt its Rafah offensive, Israel instead intensified bombing both in Rafah and elsewhere in Gaza. The outcry from the international community over last night’s strike in the refugee encampment was so great that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came out and called the strike a “tragic mishap” and said there would be an internal investigation. 

US says it is “Clear and consistent” on Rafah

The response from the US, both after Friday’s ICJ ruling and last night’s massacre, has been muted. On Friday, an anonymous White House official made a statement to the press claiming that the Biden administration’s position on Rafah has been “clear and consistent,” without elaborating further.

  • On March 10, Biden declared any invasion of Rafah to be a “red line” for his support for Israel’s military campaign. Israel launched its Rafah invasion on May 7.
  • Then on May 8, Biden said he would stop sending some military aid if Israel launched a “major” invasion of Rafah.
  • Last week, after weeks of devastation, thousands killed and over 800,000 displaced from Rafah (many for at least the second time), State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said “We have not yet seen Israel launch a major operation“. 
  • After last night’s massacre, an anonymous White House official called the attack “heartbreaking” but went on to say that “Israel has a right to go after Hamas.” The unnamed officials added, “But as we’ve been clear, Israel must take every precaution possible to protect civilians”. Furthermore they said the US was “actively engaging” with the Israelis “to assess what happened”.

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