Thursday, February 22, 2024
HomeLatest NewsIsrael Conducts Airstrikes on Rafah

Israel Conducts Airstrikes on Rafah

The Israeli military said it conducted a “series of strikes” early Monday on Rafah, in southern Gaza, that have now “concluded.”

The Israeli military said it struck “terror targets in the area of Shaboura” — which is a district in Rafah, according to The Associated Press.

The military said the strikes had concluded but provided no other details.

Palestinian health officials did not immediately offer any casualty information, according to the AP. However, Agence France-Presse reported that the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said at least seven people had been killed in the strikes.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised “safe passage” for tens of thousands of Palestinians out of Gaza’s southernmost town of Rafah ahead of a planned Israeli ground offensive against Hamas militants.

It was not clear, however, where the displaced Palestinians will go.

Netanyahu, in an interview broadcast Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” show, reiterated his intention to order Israeli troops to attack four Hamas battalions in Rafah, saying victory cannot be achieved over the militants in Gaza without clearing them out of the town on the Egyptian border.

With more than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million people crammed into the far southern reaches of the territory, international critics of Netanyahu have expressed alarm at the prospect of an Israeli ground assault.

But the Israeli leader said, “We’re going to do it. We’re going to do it while providing safe passage for the civilian population so they can leave.”

When asked where the Palestinians — many already sheltering in makeshift tents — would go, Netanyahu said only that Israeli officials are “working out a detailed plan.”

Some world officials are expressing deep concerns about the Israeli war plan in Rafah and its promise of safety for the Palestinians there.

President Joe Biden spoke to Netanyahu by phone Sunday and told him Israel shouldn’t go forward with a military operation in Rafah without “a credible and executable plan for ensuring the safety of and support for the more than one million people sheltering there,” a White House statement said.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said there would be the risk of a “gigantic tragedy” if the Israel Defense Forces expand their offensive into the town.

“We would not support in any way forced displacement, which goes against international law,” Guterres’ spokesperson told reporters Friday about a potential evacuation of Rafah.

Biden, who has supported Israel’s right to defend itself following the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack, said last week that nonetheless the Israeli military campaign in Gaza is “over the top.”

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wrote on social media platform X, “The people in Gaza cannot disappear into thin air,” adding that an Israeli offensive on Rafah would be a “humanitarian catastrophe in the making.”

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry warned Saturday of “very serious repercussions of storming and targeting” Rafah and called for an urgent U.N. Security Council meeting. British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said he is “deeply concerned” about the prospective offensive.

“The priority must be an immediate pause in the fighting to get aid in and hostages out,” he wrote on X.

An Israeli ground offensive into Rafah could have other repercussions as well.

Hamas-run Al-Aqsa television quoted a senior Hamas official as saying any Israeli ground offensive into Rafah would “blow up” negotiations for a halt in the fighting and the possible release of about 100 hostages held by the militants.

Even with a looming ground offensive, Israeli airstrikes have targeted Rafah. The Associated Press, citing health officials and eyewitnesses, reported at least 44 people were killed Saturday — including more than a dozen children — when air attacks hit several homes in the Rafah area.

Smoke billows during Israeli bombardment over Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Feb. 12, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas militant group.

Hamas has been designated a terror group by the United States, Britain and the European Union. The war in Gaza started with the October attack that killed 1,200 people in Israel and led to the capture of 240 hostages, about 100 of whom were released in a weeklong cease-fire in November. Hamas health officials say Israel’s counteroffensive in Gaza has killed more than 28,000 people.

Egyptian officials have warned that any ground operation in Rafah or mass displacement across the border would undermine its 40-year-old peace treaty with Israel.

It is also the main humanitarian aid entry point to Gaza and intense fighting could further hamper relief efforts.

Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, warned that any Israeli ground offensive on Rafah would have “disastrous consequences,” claiming that Israel aims to eventually force the Palestinians out of their land.

The dire humanitarian situation has sparked Arab and U.N. concerns that Palestinians may eventually be driven over the border. Egypt has sent about 40 tanks and armored personnel carriers to northeastern Sinai within the past two weeks as part of a series of measures to bolster security on its border with Gaza, two Egyptian security sources said.

Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

https://www.voanews.com/a/israel-conducts-airstrikes-on-rafah/7483633.html

Author

  • Shafeek Ahmad

    Meet Shafeek Ahmad, a dedicated news writer at HTBS News, with a passion for unearthing stories that matter. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to delivering accurate and engaging news, Shafeek is a trusted source of information. Bringing years of experience to the table, Shafeek's writing is a blend of expertise and storytelling. In an era of fast-paced news cycles, Shafeek's articles stand out for their precision and commitment to journalistic integrity.

Shafeek Ahmad
Shafeek Ahmadhttps://howtobeaspoonie.com
Meet Shafeek Ahmad, a dedicated news writer at HTBS News, with a passion for unearthing stories that matter. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to delivering accurate and engaging news, Shafeek is a trusted source of information. Bringing years of experience to the table, Shafeek's writing is a blend of expertise and storytelling. In an era of fast-paced news cycles, Shafeek's articles stand out for their precision and commitment to journalistic integrity.
RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments