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Abbas says Israel plan for Rafah assault aims to drive Palestinians from Gaza

10 Feb 2024 - 19:24

The office of Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, said on Friday a plan announced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a military escalation in Rafah at the southern edge of the Gaza Strip aims to drive Palestinians from their land, Reuters reports.

The Palestinian Presidency called on the UN Security Council to take heed, “because (Israel) taking this step threatens security and peace in the region and the world. It crosses all red lines,” the statement said.

UNICEF has warned that a ground Israeli military offensive escalation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah would mark a “devastating turn” in the ongoing Israeli aggression on the enclave, as Israel moves toward an expected ground invasion in the overcrowded province.
“An escalation of the fighting in Rafah, which is already straining under the extraordinary number of people who have been displaced from other parts of Gaza, will mark another devastating turn in a war that has reportedly killed over 27,000 people – most of them women and children,” UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said in a press statement.
UNICEF said 600,000 children are among the more than one million people in the densely populated city in the southern Gaza Strip. Many fled to Rafah as an earlier Israeli ground offensive erupted in northern areas of Gaza. If the region’s remaining hospitals, shelters, markets and water systems are destroyed, hunger and disease “will skyrocket,” the UN organization warned.
“I appeal to all parties… to adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law. That includes taking the utmost care to spare civilians and civilian infrastructure, to meet civilians’ essential needs and facilitate rapid, safe, and unimpeded humanitarian access,” Russell said, reupping UNICEF’s call for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire.”
“A humanitarian ceasefire will save lives. It will allow for the expansion of the humanitarian response, and help provide the best protection for children whose lives and futures are hanging in the balance,” according to the statement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today he ordered the military to evacuate the population of Rafah ahead of an expected invasion of the province.

Story Code: 624731

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Taghribnews (TNA)