Israel to start Rafah assault until Gaza hostages launched by Ramadan | EUROtoday

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Israel has mentioned it is going to start an assault on Rafah if Hamas doesn’t launch the remaining hostages it holds in Gaza by the start of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan – anticipated to be on 10 March. It comes because the EU grew to become the newest to warn that such an offensive would create a humanitarian catastrophe.

Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s conflict cupboard, mentioned: “The world must know, and Hamas leaders must know: if by Ramadan our hostages are not home, the fighting will continue everywhere, to include the Rafah area.”

Israel’s army mentioned it had struck Khan Younis on Monday, the place it has centered its conflict on Hamas in latest weeks. An assault on Rafah – the final refuge for Palestinians in Gaza – would imply pushing additional south. Health officers in Hamas-run Gaza say that greater than 29,000 individuals have been killed by an Israeli aerial bombardment, floor operations and a blockade that was began in response to a bloody Hamas assault inside Israel that killed round 1,200 individuals and noticed 250 extra taken hostage.

Up to 1.5 million of Gaza’s inhabitants of two.3m are actually sheltering in Rafah, a metropolis on the southern fringe of the enclave. Many have fled different areas of Gaza as Israeli forces have moved south.

“An attack on Rafah would be absolutely catastrophic … it would be unconscionable,” Ireland’s Foreign Minister Micheal Martin mentioned earlier than a gathering with international ministers from the 27 EU member states in Brussels.

After the talks ended, the bloc’s prime diplomat Josep Borrell mentioned 26 of the EU’s 27 nations agreed to a press release warning towards any assault on Rafah and calling for “an immediate humanitarian pause that would lead to a sustainable ceasefire, to the unconditional release of hostages, and to the provision of humanitarian assistance”.

Mr Borrell didn’t identify the nation that didn’t comply with the textual content however diplomats informed Reuters that Hungary blocked the same assertion just a few days in the past.

Palestinian crowds battle to purchase bread from a bakery in Rafah


Mr Borrell mentioned it might be not possible to stop civilian deaths given the sheer numbers at present in Rafah. “We have to continue putting pressure on Israel to make them understand that there are so many people in the streets of Rafah, it will be impossible to avoid civilian casualties,” he mentioned. Quite a lot of nations, together with Israel’s staunchest ally the US, have warned towards a army offensive inside Rafah, with Palestinians having no different place to show.

Also on Monday, the Israeli army launched footage which it mentioned confirmed Israeli lady Shiri Bibas and her two young children being moved by Palestinian militants in Gaza shortly after the household was kidnapped in southern Israel within the Hamas assault on 7 October.

The safety digicam footage confirmed what gave the impression to be a younger lady carrying a baby on her shoulder as she was wrapped in an extended, light-coloured protecting within the yard of a constructing and transferred right into a automotive. The military mentioned the footage was recovered just a few days in the past and got here from Khan Younis. It mentioned the pictures confirmed Shiri Bibas in addition to her sons Ariel, who was aged 4 when he was kidnapped, and Kfir, the youngest hostage seized, who was 9 months outdated on the time.

“The footage shows the terrorists wrapping Shiri and her babies in a sheet, trying to hide them,” chief army spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari informed a information briefing, including that the footage got here from the day of their abduction.

“From the information available to us, we are concerned for the wellbeing of Shiri, Ariel and Kfir,” he mentioned.

The Bibas household launched a press release calling for his or her rapid launch. “We desperately call on all decision makers in Israel and worldwide involved in negotiations: Bring them home immediately,” the household mentioned.

Smoke from the bottom operation in Khan Younis, seen from a camp sheltering displaced Palestinians in Rafah


It comes as 14 sufferers had been evacuated from the final main hospital in southern Gaza, Nasser hospital in Khan Younis, which has been raided by Israeli troops. The UN company the World Health Organisation (WHO) mentioned over the weekend that the hospital had ceased to perform following an Israeli raid. Israel’s army denies that its raid has compelled the hospital offline.

“There are still more than 180 patients and 15 doctors and nurses inside Nasser,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus later mentioned in a publish on Twitter/X.

“The hospital is still experiencing an acute shortage of food, basic medical supplies, and oxygen. There is no tap water and no electricity, except a back-up generator maintaining some lifesaving machines,” he mentioned, urging Israel to permit protected and sustained entry to Nasser to proceed lifesaving efforts.

Meanwhile, on the UN’s prime courtroom in The Hague, per week of hearings began on a request from the UN General Assembly for a non-binding opinion on the legality of Israel’s occupation of lands hunted for a doable Palestinian state. The request was made to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2022.

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem – areas which the Palestinians need for a state – in a 1967 conflict and has since constructed settlements within the occupied West Bank and steadily expanded them.

Palestinian representatives requested judges to declare Israel’s occupation unlawful. “We call on you to confirm that Israel’s presence in the occupied Palestinian territory is illegal,” Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian consultant to the United Nations, mentioned.

“A finding from this distinguished court … would contribute to bringing [occupation] to an immediate end, paving a way to a just and lasting peace,” he mentioned. “A future in which no Palestinians and no Israelis are killed. A future in which two states live side by side in peace and security.”

The ICJ’s 15-judge panel has been requested to overview Israel’s “occupation, settlement and annexation … including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”

Israel just isn’t attending the hearings however despatched a five-page written assertion revealed by the courtroom by which it mentioned an advisory opinion can be “harmful” to makes an attempt to resolve the battle as a result of the questions posed by the UN General Assembly had been prejudiced.

The judges are anticipated to take months to difficulty an opinion.

Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this report