First Thing: deadly Israeli airstrike on refugee tents in Rafah leaves aid groups ‘horrified’

<span>Fire rages after an Israeli strike on an area designated for displaced Palestinians, with aid groups ‘outraged and heartbroken’.</span><span>Photograph: Reuters TV/Reuters</span>
Fire rages after an Israeli strike on an area designated for displaced Palestinians, with aid groups ‘outraged and heartbroken’.Photograph: Reuters TV/Reuters

Good morning,

An Israeli airstrike on tents housing displaced Palestinians in Rafah has killed at least 35 people and “horrified” aid groups, with the death toll likely to rise.

“We are outraged and heartbroken by the recent attacks in West Rafah, where Israeli fighter jets launched eight missiles at makeshift shelters housing internally displaced persons next to Unrwa warehouses stocking vital aid,” ActionAid said.

Footage from the scene showed widespread destruction at the camp with a large fire overtaking the area. The Israel Defense Forces said the strike killed two senior Hamas officials and that the “incident is under review.”

The attack came hours after air raid sirens sounded in Tel Aviv and across central Israel for the first time since January after what the IDF said eight Hamas rockets were fired from the Rafah area.

Meanwhile, the foreign minister of Germany, a stalwart ally of Israel, said on Monday the UN’s top court ruling urging Israel to immediately halt its military offensive on the southern part of the Gaza strip was binding and must be respected. “International humanitarian law applies for all, also for Israel’s conduct of the war,” Annalena Baerbock said.

  • What are aid groups saying? Médecins Sans Frontières said dozens of dead and injured people were brought to a trauma stabilisation points supported by the group. “We are horrified by this deadly event which shows once again that nowhere is safe,” it said. The Palestinian Red Crescent said its ambulance crews transported “a large number” of people killed and injured in the Rafah strikes. The group added that the location of the strike had been designated by Israel as a humanitarian area, adding “citizens were coerced into evacuating to it.”

  • What is the humanitarian cost of the war? After the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October killed about 1,200 people and took 250 hostage, Israel’s assault on Gaza has killed at least 35,984 people and injured 80,643, according to health officials, with the invasion also decimating Gaza’s infrastructure, displacing 80% of the population and bringing people close to famine.

The rightwing plan to take over ‘sanctuary’ cities – and rebuild them Maga-style

Trump has for years railed against Democratic-run cities as hotbeds for crime and moral decay.

His allies have an idea of how to capitalise on that agenda and make cities in Trump’s image, detailed in the conservative Project 2025: unleash new police forces on cities such as Washington DC, withhold federal disaster and emergency grants unless they follow immigration policies like detaining undocumented immigrants.

Project 2025’s Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise, an extensive document breaking down each part of the federal government and recommending changes to be made to advance rightwing policy, was created by the Heritage Foundation.

  • What’s the goal of Project 2025? It proposes a Republican attempt at a crackdown on so-called “sanctuary” cities, places around the country that don’t cooperate with the federal government on enforcing harsh immigration policies.

  • What has Trump said about his plans? “We’re going to rebuild our cities into beacons of hope, safety and beauty – better than they have ever been before … We will take over the horribly run capital of our nation, Washington DC.”

Papua New Guinea landslide death toll climbs to 2,000, national disaster center says

More than 2,000 people are believed to have been killed in a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea, authorities told the UN, as emergency workers and relatives gave up hope that any survivors would be found.

The death toll from the landslide on Friday had been estimated at about 670 people, but on Sunday the national disaster center told the UN more than 2,000 people were buried alive.

Only a few bodies had been retrieved from the rubble so far, while aid and rescue efforts were being hindered by dangerous conditions on the ground.

  • How many have been affected? More than 250 houses near the stricken area of Yambali village in Enga province had been abandoned and about 1,250 people had been displaced, with many taking temporary shelter with relatives and friends.

  • What was the situation on Sunday night? “Land is still sliding, rocks are falling, ground soil is cracking due to constant increased pressure and ground water is running, thus the area is posing an extreme risk for everyone,” said Serhan Aktoprak, of the International Organization for Migration.

In other news …

  • The end of official mourning for Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi has unleashed a battle for succession, in which as many as 20 names have been proposed.

  • Eight passengers were taken to hospital after a Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Dublin experienced turbulence. The incident came days after a man died during extreme turbulence.

  • A lawsuit filed in New Mexico last week alleged that a “shamanic master” assaulted a woman, during an “energy medicine” training session in March.

  • Six newborn babies have died after a fire tore through a children’s hospital in Delhi, India, with people charging into the flames to rescue the infants.

Stat of the day: Almost 150,000 in NYC homeless shelters in March

In March 2024, 146,547 people slept each night in New York City homeless shelters, with the actual homeless figure likely to be much higher, according to the Coalition for the Homeless. In recent years, it says, NYC homelessness has reached the highest levels since the Great Depression.

Don’t miss this: Unions help US workers. Could the same model work for tenants?

Nationally, more than 40m households – roughly 35% of the population – rent their homes. Among Americans who are Black or Hispanic the percentage is far higher. Rental affordability is worse than it has been in decades, and landlords have filed more than 1m evictions in the past 12 months alone. Collective bargaining has brought benefits to workers – now, it’s being used to improve living conditions and fight rent increases.

Climate check: At least 15 people dead after storms tear through Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas

Powerful storms killed at least 15 people and left a wide trail of destruction on Sunday across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. The deadly twisters have spawned during a historically bad season for tornadoes, at a time when climate change contributes to the severity of storms worldwide.

Last Thing: ‘They’re out of control’ – flock of 100 feral chickens torments English village

The clucking nuisance of about 100 feral chickens has left residents of a Norfolk village spitting feathers, with locals claiming the birds destroy their gardens and keep them awake. Dwellers in Snettisham say their life is being made “hell” as the chickens swarm in from a nearby wood. “They’re a pain in the butt,” one resident said.

Sign up

First Thing is delivered to thousands of inboxes every weekday. If you’re not already signed up, subscribe now.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or comments about any of our newsletters please email