At least 44 Palestinians, including numerous children, were killed in Israeli airstrikes in the southern Gaza city of Rafah on Saturday. This occurred after the Israeli prime minister announced that he had instructed the military to prepare for the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of residents in the area prior to a potential ground invasion..
The announcement made by Benjamin Netanyahu caused panic and concern among diplomats, although no specific details or timeline were given. Over half of Gaza’s population, which amounts to 2.3 million people, currently reside in Rafah. Many of them had previously followed Israeli evacuation orders, which now encompass two-thirds of the territory. It is uncertain where they could seek refuge if needed.
kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers
According to Israel, the city of Rafah, located on the border of Egypt, is the only remaining stronghold for the militant group Hamas in Gaza, following a war that lasted over four months due to the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers.
The current situation of a humanitarian emergency, characterized by scarcities of nourishment and healthcare facilities.
Fadel al-Ghannam tragically lost his son, daughter-in-law, and four grandchildren in a strike. As he stood in the midst of the destruction, he expressed how the strike ripped apart the bodies of his beloved family members.
He was afraid of a potential ground invasion of Rafah, which he viewed as a worse situation. He also believed that the lack of response from the international community has allowed Israel to continue their actions. He expressed disappointment in the world for not treating his people fairly and advocating for their rights.
On Saturday evening, a home in Rafah was targeted by an Israeli airstrike, resulting in the deaths of 11 individuals, including three children. Ahmed al-Sawaf, who is the head of Rafah’s municipality, reported the casualties. The deceased were transported to Abu Youssef al-Najjar hospital, according to a journalist from the Associated Press who was present. Additionally, two other strikes killed two police officers and three high-ranking officials in the civil police, as stated by city officials.
Doctors Without Borders reported that in Khan Younis, the largest hospital in the area known as Nasser Hospital, at least two individuals were killed and five were injured when Israeli forces fired upon it.
On Saturday morning, a doctor named Ahmed Maghrabi reported on Facebook that Israeli tanks had arrived at the entrance of the hospital.
According to Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesperson for the Health Ministry, hospital employees are currently unable to transfer between structures due to the significant blaze. He also stated that the hospital is currently housing 300 medical workers, 450 patients, and 10,000 individuals who have been displaced.
According to the Israeli military, there are no current operations taking place within the hospital and the surrounding area is considered a “combat zone.”
The number of deaths keeps rising.
According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 117 individuals who were killed in Israeli airstrikes were taken to hospitals in the last day. This brings the total number of casualties from the offensive to 28,064, with the majority being women and children. Additionally, the ministry reported that over 67,000 people have been injured.
On October 7, Israel initiated a war in response to a large number of Hamas fighters breaching the border into southern Israel. This resulted in the death of 1,300 individuals and 250 being held as hostages, with not all of them surviving.
Israel holds Hamas responsible for civilian deaths because it fights from within civilian areas, but U.S. officials have called for more surgical strikes. President Joe Biden said this week Israel’s response is “over the top.”
According to Netanyahu’s office, it is not feasible to eradicate Hamas while allowing four Hamas battalions to remain in Rafah.
The country of Egypt has issued a warning that if Palestinians attempt to enter Egypt, it could endanger the longstanding peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, which has been in place for 40 years. The main point of entry for humanitarian aid, the Rafah border crossing, is mostly shut down.
Before the war, Rafah had a population of approximately 280,000. According to the United Nations, it currently houses an extra 1.4 million people who have escaped conflict in other areas.
Annalena Baerbock, the Foreign Minister of Germany, issued a warning against a potential Israeli attack on Rafah, stating that it would result in a devastating humanitarian crisis. She further emphasized that the people of Gaza should not be left to suffer without any support.
Devastation in the northern part of Gaza.
The military attack by Israel has resulted in significant devastation, particularly in the northern region of Gaza, leaving hundreds of thousands of individuals displaced from their residences.
Two medics from the Palestinian Red Crescent, who had been missing for 12 days, were found dead in a destroyed ambulance on Saturday in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City. They had responded to a call for help from 6-year-old Hind Rajab and her family, who were following evacuation orders.
The PRC had previously shared a recording of Hind’s cousin stating that the car they were in was shot at and only she and Hind managed to survive. The call abruptly ended when the cousin stopped talking.
The People’s Republic of China stated that the rescue operation was planned in conjunction with the Israeli military, who declined to make a statement.