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Israel Strikes Rafah Killing Dozens After Netanyahu Hinted of Ground Offensive

 / Go to the mediabankIn this video grab, residential buildings destroyed by a rocket attack from Israel, as the conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas continues, in Gaza, Palestine / Go to the mediabank

Chimauchem Nwosu Rafah is now home to most of Gaza’s 2.3-million population and the last remaining crossing point to Egypt, but the city’s residents are in limbo, not knowing where to go for refuge.Israeli bombings in Rafah on Saturday resulted in the deaths of at least 44 Palestinians. The air raids were launched hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the military to prepare to evacuate residents in the area before a ground offensive, Politico reports.The PM did not give specifics or an expected schedule of military action, but the notice triggered unease among diplomats.According to Israel, Rafah, which shares a border with Egypt, represents the final bastion for Hamas within Gaza following over four months of conflict that started on October 7, 2023. Statements credited to the Israeli prime minister’s office suggest doubts about obliterating Hamas while four of its battalions are in Rafah, according to Politico.Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry issued a stern warning to Israel, cautioning against any potential ground offensive on Rafah, stating it would have serious consequences if Israel attempts to drive Palestinians from their land. WorldMulti-Arena War: What Does the Future Hold in Store for Israel-Palestine Conflict?26 December 2023, 15:10 GMTCairo’s primary focus remains on brokering an enduring truce and securing the release of hostages taken on October 7th.But Israel rejected a proposal by Hamas in Qatar this week which would have seen 1,500 Palestinian civilians released from Israeli prisons in return for the remaining Israeli captives, while also restraining Tel Aviv from further attacks on the enclave.The US and Netanyahu have been locked in a rift due to America’s stance that Israel’s military action in Rafah, without regard for civilian well-being, is a recipe for disaster, Politico writes.Israel has continued frequent airstrikes in Rafah despite urging civilians in the past few weeks to seek refuge there from the ongoing ground assault in Khan Younis nearby. Israeli bombing has caused many deaths in Rafah, according to Associated Press correspondents and a health official stationed in the area.Reports by medical charity Doctors Without Borders stated that the Israeli army fired at Nasser Hospital — the biggest in Khan Younis — resulting in the death of not less than two people and five wounded.Moreover, hospital personnel are unable to move between buildings due to the intensity of shelling. The Nasser Hospital accommodates 300 medical staff, 450 patients and 10,000 refugees from elsewhere in gaza, according to Dr. Asharaf Al-Qidra, spokesperson for the Palestinian Ministry of Health. The Israeli army claimed there were no ongoing combat operations within the hospital but admitted the vicinity was within “an active combat zone.”Hospitals in Gaza received the bodies of 117 people who died in Israeli airstrikes. This brings the total number of people killed in the attacks to 28,064 — mainly women and children— with over 67,000 people injured, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock cautioned on social media platform X that an offensive on Rafa by Israeli forces would cause a “humanitarian catastrophe in the making…the people in Gaza cannot disappear into thin air.”WorldQatar, France Broker Deal for Urgent Medical Aid Delivery to Gaza17 January, 13:26 GMTOn November 24, Qatar brokered an agreement between Israel and Hamas for a temporary ceasefire. As part of the deal, some prisoners and hostages were exchanged, and limited humanitarian aid was delivered to the Gaza Strip. The truce was prolonged multiple times and ended on December 1, 2023. It is estimated that over 100 hostages are still being held by Hamas in Gaza.

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