First Minister John Swinney has called the war in Gaza "one of the greatest moral issues of our time" after Israel admitted a "tragic mistake" had killed displaced civilians sheltering in tents near Rafah.

Overnight what the IDF said was an "intelligence-based precise strike" was carried out targeting senior Hamas fighters Yassin Rabia and Khaled Nagar, who it said were killed.

The attack set fire to a tent camp housing Palestinians who had already been displaced by the war and killed at least 45 people, local officials said.

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Mr Swinney wrote on social media: "The humanitarian catastrophe we are seeing unfold in Gaza is one of the greatest moral issues of our time.

"The unimaginable devastation in Rafah must stop. There are no places of refuge for Palestinian civilians. I reiterate the SNP call for a full and immediate ceasefire."

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted that civilians had been killed in what he called a "tragic mistake".

He told parliament: "Despite our utmost efforts not to harm innocent civilians, last night, there was a tragic mistake.

“We are investigating the incident and will obtain a conclusion because this is our policy.”

At least 45 people were killed, according to the Gaza Health Ministry and the Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service.

The ministry said the dead included at least 12 women, eight children and three older adults, with another three bodies burned beyond recognition.

Last week the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to halt its offensive on Rafah, where more than a million people fleeing the fighting in the Gaza strip have been displaced.

It ordered the country to refrain from any operations which could bring about "the physical destruction" of the Palestinians, and allow unimpeded access to Gaza to any UN body investigating allegations of genocide.

Israel said it "has not and will not carry out military operations in the Rafah area that create living conditions that could cause the destruction of the Palestinian civilian population", while cabinet minister Benny Gantz said Israel would continue its offensive "wherever and whenever necessary - including in Rafah".

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

The strike on Rafah brought a new wave of condemnation, even from some of Israel’s close allies.

“These operations must stop. There are no safe areas in Rafah for Palestinian civilians. I call for full respect for international law and an immediate ceasefire,” French President Emmanuel Macron posted on  social media. Italian defence minister Guido Crosetto, in a TV interview, said such bombings are “spreading hatred, rooting hatred that will involve their children and grandchildren”.

More than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched its military offensive in response to the October 7 terror attacks which left 1,143 dead, including 767 civilians.

Hamas still holds about 100 hostages and the remains of around 30 others taken that day, after most of the rest were released during a ceasefire last year.