MOHAMMED ABED / AFP
Rescuers near a building hit by the Israeli army in Rafah, February 12, 2024.
INTERNATIONAL – New target. Rafah, a town on the border with Egypt, suffered a series of attacks on the night of Sunday February 11 to Monday February 12, which left 52 Palestinians dead, according to the , in power in Gaza. For its part, Israel announced the release of two hostages during the operation.
The Israeli Prime Minister ordered his army to prepare an offensive on Rafah, where most of the population of the Palestinian territory is currently massed, according to the UN. Hamas warned on Sunday that such an offensive “would torpedo” any agreement for the release of the hostages he still holds in Gaza.
But the night’s strikes do not seem to mark the start of this offensive, which worries the international community, including Israel, Israel’s main ally.
They hit 14 houses and three mosques in different areas of Rafah, according to the Hamas government. The Israeli army said in a statement that it had “carried out a series of raids against terrorist targets in the southern Gaza Strip”adding that these were completed.
These strikes, of greater intensity than in recent days, caused clouds of smoke, noted AFP journalists and witnesses.
As for the army, it explains in a press release “Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, were recovered during a nighttime operation in Rafah carried out jointly by the Shin Beth (Internal Security) army and the Israeli police”.
The US president urged the Israeli prime minister, in a telephone interview on Sunday, to “guarantee security” of the Palestinian population while several States have warned of a “humanitarian catastrophe” in the event of an assault on the overpopulated city.
“Victory is within reach”
Rafah has become the last refuge for Palestinians stuck on the closed border with Egypt, numbering 1.4 million according to the UN, the vast majority of displaced people having fled the war which has raged for four months between Israel and the Islamist movement.
It is the last urban center where the Israeli army has not yet penetrated and the main entry point for humanitarian aid, insufficient to meet the needs of the population threatened in the middle of winter by the .
“Victory is within reach”Benjamin Netanyahu declared on the American channel ABC News, describing Rafah as “last bastion” of the “Hamas terrorist battalions”. Israel will ensure “a secure passage for the civilian population so that they can leave” the city, he added, without specifying where civilians could take refuge.
Also see on HuffPost :