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05 March, 2024
 
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Hamas condemns Israeli strikes, two hostages freed in Rafah operation

Netanyahu's plan for ground offensive sparks global apprehension

Newsroom

At least 37 Palestinians lost their lives in Israeli airstrikes targeting the southern city of Rafah, Gaza health officials reported Tuesday.

According to a report on The Guardian, the strikes came as the Israeli military announced the successful rescue of two hostages during a special forces raid in the city.

According to officials at the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, the bodies of 20 Palestinians were recovered from the Kuwaiti hospital, while 12 were found at the European hospital, and five at the Abu Youssef Al-Najar hospital. Additionally, residents reported the bombing of two mosques and several houses in the area.

The hostages, identified as Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, were freed during the raid in Gaza's southern Rafah neighborhood, as confirmed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Sheba hospital in central Israel. Both hostages, taken from the Nir Yitzhak kibbutz in October during Hamas attacks, were reported to be in "good condition" by doctors.

The IDF stated earlier that the strikes in southern Gaza had concluded, with no further details provided amid international concerns over escalating tensions. U.S. President Joe Biden cautioned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against launching a military operation in Rafah without a credible plan to ensure the safety of the nearly one million people seeking shelter there, the White House disclosed.

Despite warnings from aid agencies and the international community, Netanyahu expressed determination to pursue a ground offensive in Rafah, promising safe passage for the displaced population. However, Hamas warned that such an advance would jeopardize ongoing negotiations for a ceasefire and the release of hostages.

As Israel continues its military operations against Hamas, Rafah has become a critical focal point. With over half of Gaza's population seeking refuge in the city, concerns over their safety and potential displacement persist.

The escalating violence, which began in October, has claimed thousands of lives and left tens of thousands injured, according to Gaza health authorities. Netanyahu's recent announcement of plans to enter Rafah and evacuate civilians has sparked global apprehension, with calls for the protection of civilians resonating across diplomatic channels.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock emphasized the plight of Gaza's residents, urging international action to safeguard civilian lives amidst the ongoing conflict.

The situation in Rafah remains precarious, with the prospect of further military escalation looming large over the besieged city.

[With information sourced from The Guardian]

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Cyprus  |  MiddleEast  |  hostages  |  Israel  |  war  |  Hamas

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