Israeli Strikes Kill 44 Palestinians in Rafah After Netanyahu Announces Ground Invasion | World News

Feb 11, 2024

Rafah (Gaza Strip): At least 44 people killed in Israeli air strikes Palestinians – including more than a dozen children – in the southern Gaza city Refa On Saturday, Israel's prime minister said he had asked the military to make plans to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people there. ground attack,
benjamin netanyahu Details or timeline were not provided, but the announcement sparked panic and warnings among diplomats. More than half of Gaza's 2.3 million people are packed into Rafah, which now covers two-thirds of the territory after many followed Israeli evacuation orders. It is unclear where they might run next.
Israel says Rafah, which borders Egypt, is the Hamas militant group's last remaining stronghold in Gaza after more than four months of war following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that any Israeli ground attack on Rafah would have “devastating consequences”, and stressed that Israel's goal is to ultimately expel Palestinians from their lands.
Another mediator, Qatar, warned of disaster if Israel invaded Rafah, and Saudi Arabia warned of “very serious consequences”. Friction is also growing between Netanyahu and the United States, whose officials have said the Rafah offensive without any planning for the civilian population would lead to disaster.
Israel has carried out almost daily airstrikes in Rafah in recent weeks, despite telling civilians to seek shelter there to escape the ongoing ground fighting in Khan Yunis in the north.
On Saturday night, 28 people were killed in three air strikes on homes in the Rafah area, according to a health official and Associated Press journalists who saw bodies arriving at hospitals. Several members of three families were killed in each attack, including a total of 10 children, the youngest being a 3-month-old baby.
Fadel al-Ghannam said one attack left the bodies of his loved ones in pieces. He lost his son, daughter-in-law and four grandchildren.
He fears a ground offensive on Rafah could be even worse, and said the world's silence has enabled Israel to move forward. “Till date, the world has not been fair to us,” he said.
Later on Saturday, at least 11 people, including three children, were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a house in Rafah, according to Ahmed al-Soufi, head of the Rafah municipality. According to an AP journalist, the dead were taken to Abu Yusuf al-Najjar hospital.
“That's what Netanyahu's target is – the citizens,” said Samir Abu Lulia, a neighbor.
According to city officials, two policemen and three senior civil police officers were killed in two other attacks.
In Khan Yunis, Israeli forces opened fire on Nasser Hospital, the largest in the area, killing at least two and wounding five, according to the medical charity Doctors Without Borders.
Hospital doctor Ahmed Magrabi said in a Facebook post that Israeli tanks reached the hospital gate on Saturday morning.
Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said hospital staff were no longer able to move between buildings due to the intense fire. He said 300 medical workers, 450 patients and 10,000 displaced people were taking shelter there.
The Israeli military said soldiers are not currently operating inside the hospital and called the surrounding area “an active war zone.”
About 80% of Gaza's people have been displaced, and the region is mired in a humanitarian crisis with shortages of food and medical services.
Gaza death toll rises above 28,000 The Gaza Health Ministry said on Saturday that the bodies of 117 people killed in Israeli air strikes were brought to hospitals in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of people killed in the attacks to 28,064, including Most were women and children. The ministry said more than 67,000 people were injured.
Israel declared war on October 7 after several thousand Hamas militants crossed the border into southern Israel, killing 1,300 and taking 250 hostages. Not all are still alive.
Israel holds Hamas responsible for civilian deaths as it fights from within civilian areas, but US officials have called for more surgical strikes. President Joe Biden said this week that Israel's response was “over the top.”
Netanyahu's office says it is impossible to eliminate Hamas except for the four Hamas battalions in Rafah.
Egypt has warned that any movement of Palestinians into Egypt would threaten the four-decade-old peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. The Rafah border crossing, which remains mostly closed, serves as the main entry point for humanitarian aid.
Rafah's pre-war population was approximately 280,000. The United Nations says it is now home to about 1.4 million additional people who fled fighting elsewhere.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock warned that the Israeli attack on Rafah would be a “humanitarian disaster”, adding that “people in Gaza cannot disappear into thin air.”
Deaths elsewhere in Gaza Israel's offensive has caused widespread destruction, particularly in northern Gaza, and hundreds of thousands of people are now without homes.
Israeli air strikes on the central city of Deir al-Balah killed five people and wounded about 10 others, according to hospital officials and AP journalists.
In the Tel al-Hawa area of ​​Gaza City, two Palestinian Red Crescent medics were found dead in a destroyed ambulance after going missing 12 days earlier. They rushed to save 6-year-old Hind Rajab, who was traveling with family to comply with evacuation orders.
The PRC had earlier released a recording of a call by Hind's cousin who said that the car had caught fire and only he and Hind had survived. The cousin became silent in the middle of the call.
The PRC said the rescue operation was coordinated with Israel's military, without comment.

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