UN BLOG: The prospect of an Israeli offensive in Rafah is terrifying; And the US against

The war between Israel and Hamas - 129th day

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Detail after the attack on Rafa, Photo: Reuters
Detail after the attack on Rafa, Photo: Reuters
Ažurirano: 12.02.2024. 23:18h
21: 23h

The US said today that it remains opposed to Israel launching a major military operation in Rafah before carrying out actions to protect civilians in this Palestinian town on the border with Egypt.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said it is necessary to come up with a credible project.

"Without a project in this sense that is credible and that Israel is able to implement, we do not support a large-scale military operation," he told reporters.


21: 19h

The possibility of an Israeli offensive in Rafah in the far south of the Gaza Strip, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have taken refuge from the conflict, is terrifying, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said today in Geneva.

"Given the bloodshed that has happened in Gaza so far, we can only imagine what will happen in Rafah. The possibility of a full-scale military incursion into Rafah, where about 1,5 million Palestinians are crammed on the Egyptian border with nowhere to escape, is terrifying," Turk said in the statement.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights also expressed concern about the consequences of the Rafah offensive on the humanitarian aid on which the Palestinians depend.

"The incursion into Rafah could also mean an end to the scarce humanitarian aid going in and out which will have huge consequences for Gaza as a whole, including hundreds of thousands of people who are at risk of starvation in the north," Turk said.

"The world must not allow this to happen," he added and called for an "immediate ceasefire."

"I have no idea where the safe place is in the Gaza Strip," Filip Lazarini, the head of the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), said today at a press conference in Brussels.

He said that there was panic because of the planned offensive of the Israeli army in the south of the Gaza Strip.

"We are talking about five percent of the population killed, wounded or missing, or more than 100.000 people out of a population of two million in just four months," he said.

In the Israeli offensive, 28.340 people died in Gaza, 164 in the past 24 hours according to the data of the Ministry of Health there.

In Israel, attacks by Palestinian extremists led by Hamas on the first day of the war on October 7 killed more than 1.160 people, mostly civilians.


11: 50h

In Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7, 28.340 Palestinians were killed and 67.984 were wounded, the Ministry of Health in Gaza announced today, Reuters reports.

09: 33h

At least 67 Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli attack on the town of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip since Monday morning, the Gaza Health Ministry said on Monday, reports Reuters.

09: 19h

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today that Israel will not miss any opportunity to free more hostages from Gaza and described continued military pressure to "total victory" over Hamas as necessary for a full recovery, reports Reuters.

His statement was issued after Israeli special forces freed two hostages in a rescue operation in Rafah, a city on the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt, packed with war refugees, where the prospect of a wider operation has worried officials in Cairo and Washington.

08: 26h

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) continued today to call for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Reuters reports.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on the sidelines of the 2024 World Government Summit in Dubai that the aid provided to Gaza so far in terms of medical supplies is "a drop in the ocean of needs that continue to grow every day."

08: 23h

In Israeli attacks on the city of Rafah in the south of Gaza, 48 Palestinians were killed and dozens were wounded, Ashraf Al-Kidra, spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, told Reuters today.

08: 05h

The Palestinian movement Hamas announced today that the Israeli attack on the city of Rafah in the south of Gaza is a continuation of the "genocidal war" and attempts at forced displacement that Israel has undertaken against the Palestinian people, Reuters reports.

07: 40h

The Israeli army announced that it freed two hostages during a raid carried out by its special forces on the night of February 11 in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

The hostages were transported to the Sheba Hospital in central Israel, where they were examined and found to be in good condition.

The army announced the release of 60-year-old Fernando Simon Marman and 70-year-old Luis Har, who were kidnapped last year by Hamas, an organization that the US and the European Union consider a terrorist organization.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant announced on Ix, the former Twitter, that it was an "impressive liberation action". He added that he followed the action from the Command Center together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior military commanders.

According to CNN, both hostages were abducted from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on October 7 during the Hamas incursion into southern Israel.

On that occasion, Hamas militants killed around 1.200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapped around 240 of them and took them to Gaza.

Israel's response to the Hamas attack caused heavy destruction in Gaza. The Palestinian Ministry of Health, which is controlled by Hamas, announced that more than 7 people had been killed since October 27.500.

At least 60 people died on the evening of February 11 in the Israeli shelling of Rafah, a city located in the very south of the Gaza Strip and near the Egyptian border.

In recent months, Rafah has become the host city for the majority of Palestinian refugees displaced by Israel's bombardment of the northern Gaza Strip, currently home to 1,4 million people, according to United Nations estimates.

The attack on Rafah took place even though Hamas had previously announced during the day of February 11 that an offensive on that city would destroy any agreement regarding the release of the hostages still in their captivity since October 7 last year.

The United States, Israel's main ally, also spoke out against the Rafah offensive.

Agencies report that the shelling of Rafa on the night of February 11 did not mark the beginning of the offensive in that area. 14 houses and three mosques were hit in different parts of the city, and the Israeli army announced that it had carried out "a series of strikes on southern Gaza that have now ended".

(Radio Free Europe)

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