RAFAH, Gaza Strip – The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) charity reported a “violent” attack in the Gazan city of Rafah, resulting in a number of deaths, and witnessed by many of the 1.5 million people living near the Egyptian border in tents after fleeing their homes in other parts of Gaza at least once at the behest of the Israeli military.
The Israeli military conducted airstrikes in southern Gaza, prompting warnings from the international community over Israel’s planned offensive in the city. The United Nations expressed concern over the lack of safe refuge for the Palestinians who have taken shelter in the far south of the Palestinian territory. US President Joe Biden urged Israel to ensure a credible plan to protect the civilians in Rafah before proceeding with any military operation.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, insisted on moving forward with the offensive and reiterated that a plan was being prepared. Israel’s allies, international organizations, and regional powers expressed growing concern over the potential entry of Israeli troops into Rafah, which is the only open entry point for humanitarian aid, bordering Egypt.
The Strip’s Hamas rulers warned of possible casualties in the tens of thousands and the undermining of talks about a potential release of Israeli hostages held in the strip. The situation has escalated since Israel launched operations in the Palestinian enclave after Hamas gunmen killed over 1,200 people in southern Israel and took around 240 people hostage.
As discussions on securing the release of the remaining hostages continue, fears have arisen over the impact of an Israeli offensive in Rafah. Aid groups have expressed concerns about the difficulties of evacuating everyone from the city, as the humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to worsen.
Several recent events have added to the tense situation, including the killing of Palestinians in Israeli airstrikes, the discovery of a tunnel shaft, and reports of casualties and lack of access to essential medical supplies. The ongoing conflict has also sparked allegations and denials regarding the involvement of various parties.
Efforts to verify claims and gather accurate information about the situation have been hindered by the challenging circumstances on the ground. The conflict has continued to escalate, leaving the civilians caught in the crossfire with little hope for respite in the near future.