The Israeli military launched airstrikes on the city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip. This happened after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered preparations for evacuating civilians from Rafah in anticipation of a potential ground invasion. According to reports, the airstrikes resulted in the deaths of 28 people, including 10 children, after hitting several homes in the area.
Netanyahu stated that it’s crucial to eliminate Hamas presence in Rafah but didn’t specify where the evacuated civilians should go. However, UN officials have repeatedly emphasized that nowhere in Gaza is safe. The situation is complicated by Rafah’s proximity to Egypt, with concerns that any mass displacement across the border could jeopardize the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
The strikes come amidst escalating tensions in the region, including recent Hamas attacks on Israel and incidents near the Syrian border. The United States has urged Israel to prioritize civilian protection during its operations in Gaza.
UN officials have also cautioned against large-scale military operations in Rafah, highlighting the risk of a humanitarian catastrophe and emphasizing the importance of upholding international law and protecting civilians. The UN agencies UNRWA and UNICEF have expressed deep concerns about the potential escalation of violence in Rafah, warning of dire consequences for the civilian population, especially women and children.