RAFAH, Palestine – The city of Rafah in Gaza is experiencing a “violent” attack, with reports of multiple deaths, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) charity. Witnesses have described dozens of air strikes hitting the northern and central parts of the city. The Israeli military has confirmed that airstrikes were conducted in southern Gaza, but did not provide further details.
The international community has expressed concerns over Israel’s planned offensive in Rafah, where 1.5 million people are seeking shelter. The United Nations has stated that there is no safe place for Palestinians in the far south of the Palestinian territory, and the situation is becoming increasingly dire.
US President Joe Biden has urged Israel’s Prime Minister to ensure the safety of civilians in Rafah, emphasizing the need for a credible and executable plan to protect the more than a million people in the city. However, Prime Minister Netanyahu has pushed forward with preparations for the offensive.
The planned military operation has prompted a strong reaction from Israel’s allies, international organizations, and regional powers, with warnings of very serious repercussions if the city is stormed. The situation is dire, with over half of Gaza’s population seeking shelter in Rafah, many of them living in tents in refugee camps. The Hamas rulers in the Strip have warned of potentially tens of thousands of casualties if the operation goes ahead, putting into question the fate of Israeli hostages held in the area.
The conflict stems from a series of deadly events, including an initial attack by Hamas gunmen in southern Israel that led to a significant loss of life. In response, Israel launched operations in the Palestinian enclave, resulting in a high number of casualties. Meanwhile, negotiations for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza are said to have made real progress but significant gaps still remain.
The situation has escalated with additional reports of casualties, ongoing airstrikes, and the discovery of a tunnel leading to an “underground terrorist tunnel” near a school. There are also reports of deaths resulting from the denial of access to oxygen at a hospital as a result of Israeli military actions.
Overall, the situation in Rafah continues to deteriorate as the conflict between Israel and Hamas intensifies, with potentially devastating consequences for the civilian population. The region is bracing for further escalation and disruptions as the conflict shows no signs of abating.
This ongoing crisis further highlights the urgency for a concerted international effort to bring about a peaceful resolution and alleviate the suffering of civilians caught in the crossfire.