Israeli air strikes have killed at least 35 people and hit tents for displaced people in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, and “numerous” others were trapped in flaming debris, according to Palestinian health workers.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said women and children made up most of the dead and dozens of wounded after the attacks on Sunday.

They came two days after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to end its military offensive in Rafah, where more than half of Gaza’s population had sought shelter before Israel’s incursion earlier this month.

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A makeshift tent camp in Rafah (Abdel Kareem Hana/AP)

Tens of thousands of people remain in the area while many others have fled.

Footage from the scene of the largest air strike showed heavy destruction. Israel’s army confirmed the strike and said it hit a Hamas installation and killed two senior militants.

It said it was investigating reports that civilians were harmed. Defence minister Yoav Gallant was in Rafah on Sunday and was briefed on the “deepening of operations” there, his office said.

A spokesperson with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said the death toll is likely to rise as search and rescue efforts continue in the Tal al-Sultan neighbourhood.

The society said the location had been designated by Israel as a “humanitarian area”. It is not included in areas that Israel’s military ordered evacuated earlier this month.

The air strike was reported hours after Hamas fired a barrage of rockets from Gaza that set off air raid sirens as far away as Tel Aviv for the first time in months in a show of resilience more than seven months into Israel’s massive air, sea and ground offensive.

There were no reports of casualties in what appeared to be the first long-range rocket attack from Gaza since January. Hamas’s military wing claimed responsibility.

Israel’s military said eight projectiles crossed into Israel after being launched from Rafah and “a number” were intercepted, and the launcher was destroyed.

Earlier on Sunday, dozens of aid trucks entered Gaza from southern Israel under a new agreement to bypass the Rafah crossing with Egypt after Israeli forces seized the Palestinian side of it earlier this month. Israel’s military said 126 aid trucks entered by the nearby Kerem Shalom crossing.

It was not immediately clear if humanitarian groups could access the aid — including medical supplies — because of fighting. The crossing has been largely inaccessible because of Israel’s offensive in Rafah.

United Nations agencies say it is usually too dangerous to retrieve the aid, and the World Health Organisation last week said an expanded Israeli incursion in Rafah would have a “disastrous” impact.

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Palestinians waiting for aid trucks to reach the Gaza Strip (Abdel Kareem Hana/AP)

“With the humanitarian operation near collapse, the secretary-general emphasises that Israeli authorities must facilitate the safe pick-up and delivery of humanitarian supplies from Egypt entering Kerem Shalom,” the spokesperson for UN chief Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

Egypt refuses to reopen its side of the Rafah crossing until control of the Gaza side is handed back to Palestinians. It agreed to temporarily divert traffic through Kerem Shalom, Gaza’s main cargo terminal, after a call between US President Joe Biden and Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.

The war between Israel and Hamas has killed nearly 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and fighters in its count. Israel blames civilian deaths on Hamas because the militants operate in dense, residential areas.

Around 80% of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have fled their homes, severe hunger is widespread and UN officials say parts of the territory are experiencing famine.

Hamas triggered the war with its October 7 attack into Israel, in which Palestinian militants killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and seized 250 hostages. Hamas still holds about 100 hostages and the remains of around 30 others after most of the rest were released during a ceasefire last year.