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Gaza: Rafah strikes, US fears ‘imminent disaster’

This Friday, the Israeli army bombs Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip, where more than a million people have gathered. After the Israeli army concentrated its military operations on the cities of Gaza (north) and then Khan Younes, to the south, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered on Wednesday preparations for an offensive on the city, located on the closed border with Egypt, where 1. 3 million Palestinians, the vast majority of whom are people displaced by the fighting in recent months. Witnesses reported deadly Israeli strikes in the central and southern Gaza Strip overnight from Thursday to Friday.

Washington warned on Thursday of a “catastrophe” in Rafah and assured it would not support an operation “without serious planning” against civilians there. “I think, as you know, the reaction (…) in the Gaza Strip was over the top,” US President Joe Biden said in a rare criticism of Israel, a close US ally.

The Israeli army reported on Friday the previous day’s fighting in the Gaza Strip, saying 15 “terrorists” were killed in Khan Younes. Unrwa chief Philippe Lazzarini again called for a “humanitarian ceasefire” on Friday.

Is an agreement still possible?

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby stressed that Rafah is an important entry point for humanitarian aid, adding that such an attack is “not something we would support.” “To carry out such an operation now without planning and without thought would be catastrophic,” he added. Some time later, President Joe Biden told reporters that he considered Israel’s behavior in the Gaza war to be “exaggerated.”

“Half the population of the Gaza Strip is now crowded into Rafah with nowhere to go,” said António Guterres, UN Secretary-General at X. He said “such an action would exponentially worsen what is already a humanitarian nightmare with incalculable regional consequences.” . “

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said a deal was still possible and negotiations would continue. A Hamas delegation arrived in Cairo on Thursday for new talks.

With Rafah on the border, Egypt has warned that any mass movement across the border would jeopardize the old peace treaty with Israel signed 40 years ago.

Source: Le Parisien

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