NewsIsraeli forces strike Rafah despite warnings, over 100 killed, hostages released

Israeli forces strike Rafah despite warnings, over 100 killed, hostages released

A number of wounded people were transferred to Kuwait Hospital following Israeli air strikes on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, February 12, 2024. (Photo by Loay Ayyoub/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
A number of wounded people were transferred to Kuwait Hospital following Israeli air strikes on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, February 12, 2024. (Photo by Loay Ayyoub/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Images source: © GETTY | The Washington Post
2:54 AM EST, February 12, 2024

The health ministry of the territory controlled by Hamas points out that the airstrikes hit the densely populated Rafah district in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Israel ignores warnings, carries out heavy bombardment

Earlier on Sunday, Hamas had warned Israel that a ground offensive in Rafah could jeopardize the future release of hostages.

On Monday morning, the Israeli army announced that it had executed a "series of attacks" on southern Gaza, which they confirmed were now "completed". Among the targeted areas was the "Shabura region," a district of Rafah.

A few hours post the attack, Israeli forces confirmed that the Israeli army and security personnel had rescued two Israeli hostages abducted by Hamas during an attack on Israel on October 7 of the previous year. "The hostages were released in Rafah as a result of an operation carried out Sunday night," the report stated.

The rescued hostages were identified as 60-year-old Fernando Simon Marman and 70-year-old Louis Hara.

On that same Sunday, Egypt had warned of the "dreadful consequences" of a possible Israeli military attack on Rafah, which is situated near its border.

This warning from the Cairo Ministry followed a statement by Herzi Halevi, the Chief of Staff of the Israeli forces (IDF), which confirmed that IDF had approved operational plans for an offensive in Rafah.

At the same time, as cited by the Associated Press, "two Egyptian officials and a western diplomat claimed that Cairo threatened to suspend the peace treaty with Israel if troops entered the city".

Rafah: last sanctuary for Palestinians

Rafah is the last place of refuge for Palestinians who have been displaced by Israeli forces from the north of the Gaza Strip. Over 1.4 million people have found shelter in this city, which covers an area of approximately 58 square miles.

"Even though Israeli ground forces haven’t invaded Rafah yet, Palestinians taking shelter there have been under consistent airstrikes, and, according to reports, an average of 100 people are losing their lives each day," Al Jazeera wrote.

On Sunday, US president, Joe Biden, voiced his concerns in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Biden stated that "the military operation in Rafah should not continue without a credible and viable plan to ensure the security and support for over a million people".

"People have nowhere to go"

World Health Organization (WHO) chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also expressed his worry on Sunday about reports of a forthcoming Israeli offensive on Rafah.

"Moving forward with these plans could have severe, destructive consequences for 1.4 million people, who have nowhere to go and almost no access to healthcare" - he noted on X site.

On Sunday, the Hamas-led health ministry in the Palestinian territory reported that at least 28,176 Palestinians have been killed and 67,784 have been injured in Israeli airstrikes since the onset of the conflict.

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