Hamas Warns of Israeli Offensive in Rafah
The Hamas movement has warned that an Israeli offensive on Rafah could cause « tens of thousands of deaths and injuries » in the southern Gaza city, which is the last refuge for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians. Witnesses reported new Israeli strikes on Saturday that hit the area of Rafah. This area is currently home to over 1.3 million Palestinians, most of whom are civilians who have fled the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas over the past four months.
After instructing the army to prepare for an offensive on Rafah, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked for a « combined plan » for evacuating civilians and « destroying » Hamas in the city.
« We warn of a catastrophe and a massacre that could lead to tens of thousands of martyrs and casualties, » said Hamas on Saturday, holding the U.S. administration, the international community, and the Israeli occupation accountable for any potential repercussions.
The Palestinian Islamist group’s health ministry reported 110 deaths on Saturday alone, including 25 from airstrikes in Rafah, with clashes reported in Khan Younes’ Nasser hospital. The ongoing conflict has also led to widespread displacement and humanitarian crises, impacting millions of Palestinians.
Israel has vowed to « destroy » Hamas, leading to a military offensive that has resulted in thousands of deaths, mostly of civilians, while also displacing over 1.7 million people. The situation has raised concerns internationally, with the U.S. expressing worry over the potential effects of an operation in Rafah that houses a million people.
New Wave of Attacks and International Concerns
The United Nations and the U.S. have expressed concerns about the impact on civilians and have urged Israel to take a cautious approach in a conflict that has claimed numerous innocent lives. International negotiations for a ceasefire and a potential prisoner exchange are still ongoing, with the Hamas movement waiting for Israel’s response.
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