Israel vows to ‘intensify’ raids on Rafah amid Gaza bombing

Israel has vowed to intensify attacks on Rafah, where 1.4 million Palestinians are sheltering [Getty]

Israel has said it will “intensify” its offensive on Rafah, despite international warnings over the safety of around 1.4 million Palestinians sheltering there.

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said on Thursday that “additional forces will enter” Rafah and “this activity will intensify”.

“Hundreds of targets have already been struck and our forces are manoeuvring in the area,” he added.

According to The New Arab’s sister publication, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, intense Israeli bombing on Jabalia camp, north of Gaza city, and east of Rafah continued on Friday, killing one man and wounding two others.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian news agency Wafa stated four Palestinians were killed in a school where displaced Palestinians were sheltering in the Nuseirat camp on Friday and six others were killed in an air strike on Jabalia.

The US has joined other major powers in cautioning Israel against a ground offensive in Rafah, which would leave Palestinians with nowhere else to go.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted on Thursday that the ground assault on was a “critical” part of the military’s goal in destroying Hamas and prevent any future attacks on Israel.

The army admitted it is facing stiff resistance in other areas of Gaza where it previously said it controlled.

“The battle in Rafah is critical… it’s not just the rest of their battalions, it’s also like an oxygen line for them for escape and resupply,” he added.

The comments have been echoed by Israeli army chief Herzi Halevi, who said “we won’t let Hamas rebuild itself and they will pay a price”.

At least 35,233 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli’s indiscriminate bombing campaign, beginning on 7 October.

Israel’s atrocities have been labelled as “war crimes” and “genocide” by several world leaders, UN agencies and NGOs.

The situation in Rafah has worsened in recent weeks, due to the closure of two major aid crossings which disrupted the supply of medicines and fuel for hospital generators.

The war on Gaza has pushed the enclave to the brink of famine, destroyed the healthcare system and critical infrastructure such as water networks, especially in crowded places like Rafah.

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