Israel threatens Rafah offensive as Gaza war enters fourth month

Israel threatens Rafah offensive as Gaza war enters fourth month

Israel has warned that it will launch a ground invasion of Rafah, the Gaza border city where more than a million Palestinians have sought refuge, unless Hamas releases all the hostages it captured in a surprise attack on October 7.

came from Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet and former chief of staff, who said the operation would begin before the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, on February 22.

The threat of a Rafah offensive has raised fears of a humanitarian catastrophe, as the city is already suffering from severe shortages of food, medicine and other basic supplies. The UN has described Rafah as a “pressure cooker of despair” and urged both sides to respect international humanitarian law and protect civilians.

The Gaza war, which began after Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in response to Israeli raids on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, has killed more than 6,000 people, mostly Palestinians, and displaced nearly half of Gaza’s population of 2 million.

Israel says it is defending itself from Hamas, which it considers a terrorist organization, and has targeted thousands of militant sites, including rocket launchers, tunnels and command centers.

More than a million Palestinians have sought refuge in Rafah and international aid agencies say they are suffering from shortages of food, medicine and other basic supplies

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The conflict has also spilled over to other parts of the Middle East, with Israel striking Hezbollah targets in Syria and Lebanon, and the US launching strikes against Houthi missiles and drones in Yemen. The Iran-backed groups have expressed solidarity with Hamas and vowed to fight Israel. Meanwhile, anti-Jewish attacks have surged worldwide, prompting Pope Francis to condemn all forms of anti-Judaism and antisemitism as a “sin against God.”

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Several diplomatic efforts have been made to end the violence, but none have succeeded so far. Norway has announced a deal to avert a financial collapse in the Palestinian territories by acting as a temporary mediator between Israel and the Palestinian Authority over the transfer of tax revenues. Germany has warned Israel against expanding its offensive into Rafah, saying it would be unjustifiable and undermine the prospects of a two-state solution. The UN Security Council has called for an immediate ceasefire and a revival of peace talks, but has been unable to adopt a resolution due to US opposition.

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The only exception was the northern province of Hebei, which had a recent outbreak and imposed a lockdown on its capital, Shijiazhuang

The elections and the allegations of fraud and irregularities that followed have often triggered violence throughout the country.

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Source : DW

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