The airstrike took place as residents slept in southern Gaza, a hitherto supposedly “safe” city. At least 37 Palestinians were killed early Monday in an Israeli attack on the southern town of Rafah, according to Gaza health authorities, as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said they freed two hostages in the raid. city.
The bodies of 20 Palestinians are in a Kuwait hospital, 12 in a European hospital and five in Abu Youssef al-Najjar hospital, health ministry officials in Hamas-run Gaza told Reuters. According to residents, two mosques and several houses were bombed.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, two hostages were freed during a special forces raid in the southern Gaza Strip of Rafah. They were taken to Sheba Hospital in central Israel and doctors confirmed they were in “good condition,” the hospital said.
The IDF announced on Telegram that the hostages were Fernando Simon Marman (60) and Louis Harry (70), both abducted from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on October 7 during Hamas attacks. They are of Argentinian origin, the brother and husband of Clara Marman, who was in Madrid 5 days ago to meet with the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and the President of Madrid, Isabel Diaz Ayuso.
Hamas said in a statement that Israel’s attack on Rafah was a “continuation of the genocidal war and attempted forced displacement that Israel has waged against the Palestinian people.”
The intense shelling caused widespread panic in Rafah, as many people were asleep when the attacks began, according to Reuters news agency, which contacted residents via a chat app.
Israel’s military said it carried out a “series of attacks” in southern Gaza that have now “ended”, without giving further details, amid international concern over the prospect of an attack on the southern Gaza city.
US President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday that Israel should not launch a military operation in Rafah without a credible plan to ensure the safety of the million people sheltering there, according to the White House.
Netanyahu appears determined to continue his ground offensive against Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city, while continuing to say that Israel will provide safe passage for the 1.3 million displaced Palestinians sheltering there, which appears to be incompatible.
Despite growing warnings from aid agencies and the international community that an assault on Rafah would be a disaster, Netanyahu reiterated his intention to expand Israel’s military operation against Gaza. Hamas said the new advance in Rafah would “detonate” ongoing talks on the return of the hostages in return for a ceasefire.
“We’re going to do it,” the Israeli prime minister told ABC News in an interview on Sunday. “We are going to finish off the remaining terrorist battalions of Hamas in Rafah, which is the last bastion, but we are going to do it.” He added: “We intend to do this while ensuring safe passage for civilians.”
As Israeli forces have expanded ground operations southward in their war against Gaza over the past four months, Rafah has become the last refuge for more than half of the Strip’s 2.3 million people.
It remains unclear where the large numbers of people holed up in makeshift camps along Egypt’s borders might go. When asked, Netanyahu said that Israel is “making a detailed plan.” He added: “We’re not arrogant about it. It is part of our war effort to keep civilians out of harm’s way. “This is part of Hamas’s efforts to keep them in danger.”
The prime minister did not provide details or a timetable for the ground invasion of Rafah, which Israel previously declared a safe zone.
The southern city has become the last major population center in Gaza where troops have yet to enter, despite being bombarded by almost daily airstrikes. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said two senior Hamas operatives were killed in an attack on Rafah on Saturday.
Israel’s war in Gaza, now in its fifth month, is in retaliation for an October 7 attack by Hamas that killed 1,200 people and kidnapped 250 as a hostage.
Gaza’s health ministry said on Sunday that 28,176 Palestinians have been killed and 67,784 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7. According to him, 112 Palestinians were killed and 173 wounded in the last 24 hours.
Netanyahu’s announcement on Friday that he had ordered the IDF and the Defense Ministry to draw up plans for troops to enter Rafah and evacuate civilians sparked international concern.
On Saturday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock posted on X: “The people of Gaza cannot disappear into thin air.”
Source: El Diario