Micheál Martin condemns 'barbaric' strike on Rafah

Irish Foreign Minister Micheál Martin
Tánaiste Micheál Martin, speaking after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday [Reuters]

Irish Foreign Minister Micheál Martin has condemned an Israeli air strike on a camp for displaced Palestinians, describing it as “barbaric”.

Speaking in Brussels on Monday, Mr Martin, who is Ireland's deputy prime minister, called for an immediate ceasefire and the release of all hostages.

At least 45 people were killed in the strike on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

Earlier, Hamas had fired eight rockets from Rafah towards Tel Aviv - the first long-range attacks on the central Israeli city since January.

aftermath of air strike in rafah
Damage from the strike on Sunday night became apparent this morning [Getty Images]

Mr Martin said there can be no military solution to the conflict and criticised any group using violence or terrorism to eliminate the state of Israel or Palestine.

"I condemn the violence of yesterday. The rockets that were struck at Tel Aviv and the heinous attack on the Rafah tent refugee camp where innocent children and civilians were killed,” he said.

Mr Martin added: "What we witnessed last night is barbaric. Gaza is a very small enclave, densely populated conurbation.

"One cannot bomb an area like that without shocking consequences in terms of innocent children and civilians”.

Israeli military operations have continued in Rafah despite a ruling on Friday by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordering it to stop.

Mr Martin was speaking after a meeting of EU foreign ministers at which he said the prospect of sanctions against Israel if it did not comply with ICJ rulings had been discussed.

aftermath of air strike on rafah
The Israel Defense Forces said it targeted senior Hamas figures but would review civilian casualties [Getty Images]

Meanwhile, Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Simon Harris has said sanctions on Israel should not be "off the table”.

He called the air strike on Rafah "absolutely unimaginable and unconscionable”.

“Overnight we have seen Israel attack a displaced person centre, a place where parents were told to flee with their children, and they bombed it,” he said.

"In relation to sanctions, I don't think anything can be off the table when it comes to Israel, particularly with what we're seeing currently happening in Rafah now, when we're seeing the international community being ignored, when we're seeing international courts being ignored,” he told Ireland AM.

Israelis take cover during rocket fire near Herzliya on Sunday
Israelis take cover during rocket fire near Herzliya on Sunday [Getty Images]

Earlier this month, Ireland was one of three European countries to announce plans to officially recognise a Palestinian state.

Ireland, Norway and Spain will formally recognise Palestinian statehood on Tuesday.

"We did recognition not to be pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli but to be pro-peace,” Mr Harris said.