Heavy Israeli strikes hit Gaza’s southern city of Rafah, killing 2 hostages and injuring 8 others

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Smoke plumes billow during Israeli bombardment over Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 11, 2024.  © Said Khatib, AFP

A series of Israeli strikes early Monday hit Rafah, the city on the southern edge of the Gaza Strip killing 52 people, according to the Hamas-ruled territory’s health ministry. The strikes hit 14 houses and three mosques in different parts of Rafah.

Summary:

  • Hamas warned Israel on Sunday that a ground offensive in Rafah would imperil future hostage releases.
  • US President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in a phone call on Sunday that Israel should not proceed with a ground operation in Rafah without a “credible and executable” plan for “ensuring the safety” of the more than 1 million people sheltering there, the White House said.
  • In an interview that aired Sunday, Netanyahu reiterated his intention to extend Israel‘s military operation against Hamas into Rafah but promised “safe passage” to civilians displaced there – without giving any details. 
  • Egypt warned on Sunday of “dire consequences” of a potential Israeli military assault on Rafah, which is near its border. Two Egyptian officials and a Western diplomat said Cairo threatened to scrap its peace treaty with Israel if troops are sent into the severely overcrowded city, the Associated Press reported.
  • The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says at least 28,176 people have been killed and 67,784 wounded in Israeli strikes on the enclave since October 7, the vast majority women and children. Israeli officials say about 1,139 people were killed in the Hamas-led October 7 attacks in southern Israel. Hamas fighters took some 250 hostages during the attack and 132 are still in Gaza, according to Israeli figures.
  • Jordan’s King Abdullah II participated in an air drop of humanitarian aid to Gaza, state-owned Al Mamlaka broadcaster said on Sunday.
  • The Israeli military said on Monday it had conducted a “series of strikes” on southern Gaza that have now “concluded,” without providing further details.
  • Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Doha on Sunday for talks on securing a ceasefire in Gaza with the Qatari emir, whose country has been at the heart of mediation efforts and hosts political leaders of Hamas.
  • Israeli air strikes over the past four days in Gaza have killed two Israeli hostages and seriously injured eight others, the armed wing of Hamas announced Sunday .
  • AFP/ Franace24/ AP
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