Israeli strikes kill 28 Palestinians in Rafah after Netanyahu said offensive there was inevitable


RAFA, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli airstrikes killed at least 28 Palestinians in Rafah early Saturday, hours after Israel’s prime minister said he had evacuated hundreds of thousands of people from the southern Gaza city after the army Asked to make a plan to get him out of the field. Attack.

Benjamin Netanyahu did not give details or timeline, but the announcement began Widespread panic. More than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million people are packed into Rafah, many after being repeatedly uprooted by Israeli evacuation orders from the area that now covers two-thirds of Gaza. It is unclear where they might run next.

News of the invasion plan capped a week of growing public friction between Netanyahu and the Biden administration. US officials have said that an attack on Rafah without a plan for the civilian population would lead to disaster.

Israel has carried out almost daily airstrikes in Rafah, even as civilians in recent weeks were told to seek refuge there to avoid ground fighting in the city of 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 three-month-old baby.

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In Khan Yunis, the epicenter of the ongoing ground fighting, Israeli forces fired on Nasser Hospital, the area’s largest, killing at least one person and wounding several, Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said. Have become.

He said medical workers are no longer able to move between buildings at the facility because of the intense fire. He said 300 medical workers, 450 patients and 10,000 displaced people were taking shelter in the hospital.

The steadily rising death toll in Palestine after four months of war – which now stands at nearly 28,000 – has contributed to tensions between Netanyahu and Washington, according to Gaza health officials.

Israel holds Hamas responsible for civilian deaths as it fights from within civilian areas, but US officials have pushed back, calling for more surgical strikes. President Joe Biden said this week that Israel’s response was “over the top.”

Israel says Rafah, which borders Egypt, is Hamas’s last remaining stronghold in Gaza after more than four months of war.

“It is impossible to achieve the war goal of eliminating Hamas by leaving four Hamas battalions in Rafah,” Netanyahu’s office said Friday. “On the contrary, it is clear that the intense activity in Rafah requires that civilians evacuate the war zones.”

It said he had ordered military and security officials to come up with a “joint plan” that included both the mass evacuation of civilians and the destruction of Hamas forces in the city.

It is not clear where civilians can go. The Israeli attack has caused widespread destruction, especially in northern Gaza, and hundreds of thousands of people have no homes to return to.

Furthermore, Egypt has warned That any movement of Palestinians across the border into Egypt would threaten the four-decade-old peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. The border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, which remains mostly closed, serves as the main entry point for humanitarian aid.

Rafah’s pre-war population was about 280,000, and according to the United Nations it is now home to approximately 1.4 million additional people living with relatives, in shelters or giant tent camping After fleeing fighting elsewhere in Gaza.

Israel declares war after several thousand Hamas militants cross the border into southern Israel on 7th OctoberKilled 1,200 people and took 250 others hostage.

Israeli air and ground attacks have killed about 28,000 Palestinians, according to local health officials, the majority of whom are women and minors. About 80% of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been displaced, and the area has been flooded. humanitarian crisis With shortages of food and medical services.

Magee reported from Cairo.

Copyright 2024 The associated Press, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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