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EU, UK warn of humanitarian catastrophe in Israeli assault on Rafah

EU Foreign Minister Joseph Borrell warned that an Israeli offensive on Rafah would lead to an “unspeakable humanitarian catastrophe.” In a post on X the Borrell also warned such an Israeli military move would also cause grave tensions with Egypt.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had instructed the IDF to prepare a plan to evacuate civilians from Rafah ahead of an expected Israeli assault on the city which has become a refuge for hundreds of thousands of Gazans who escaped the fighting elsewhere in the Gaza Strip.

The IDF said it would direct civilians out of Rafah to the area of Khan Younis once the major assault there was completed.

  • Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said any Israeli ground offensive on Rafah would have “disastrous consequences,” and asserted that Israel aims to eventually force the Palestinians out of their land. Egypt has warned that any movement of Palestinians into Egypt would threaten the four-decade-old peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

Qatar, which like Egypt have been mediating between Israel and the Hamas in efforts to secure the release of hostages held there, also warned of disaster, and Saudi Arabia warned of “very serious repercussions,” should such an offensive take place.

  1. Britain’s Foreign Minister David Cameron also in a post said he was “deeply concerned about the prospect of a military offensive,” adding that priority must be “an immediate pause in the fighting to get aid in and hostages out.”

  1. “The people in Gaza cannot disappear into thin air,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on X, warning of a “humanitarian catastrophe in the making.”

The prospect of an Israeli offensive on the city bordering with Egypt has also reportedly added to the tensions between Netanyahu and the Biden administration.

  • “I’m of the view, as you know, that the conduct of the response in Gaza, in the Gaza Strip, has been over the top,” Biden said in a press conference on Friday.

On Saturday, Israel carried out two strikes on senior members of Hamas in Rafah, killing the police official responsible for providing security to Hamas leaders and another senior member of the Hamas police force.

Source: Ynet News