ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR

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. Read our live blog for all the latest developments on the Israel-Hamas war.

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

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 suspend 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 1,140 people were killed in the Hamas-led October 7 attacks in southern Israel. Militant fighters took some 250 hostages during the attack and 132 are still in Gaza, according to Israeli figures.

Yesterday’s key developments:

  • US President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during a phone call on Sunday that Israel should not proceed with a military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah without a “credible and executable” plan to ensure the safety of the roughly 1 million people sheltering there, the White House said.
  • Jordan’s King Abdullah II participated in an air drop of humanitarian aid to Gaza, state-owned Al Mamlaka broadcaster said on Sunday.
  • 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 militant group Hamas.

About casualty figures from Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry:

Gaza’s health ministry collects data from the enclave’s hospitals and the Palestinian Red Crescent.

The health ministry does not report how Palestinians were killed, whether from Israeli airstrikes and artillery barrages or errant Palestinian rocket fire. It describes all casualties as victims of “Israeli aggression”.

The ministry also does not distinguish between civilians and combatants. 

Throughout four wars and numerous skirmishes between Israel and Hamas, UN agencies have cited the Hamas-run health ministry’s death tolls in regular reports. The International Committee of the Red Cross and Palestinian Red Crescent also use the numbers.

In the aftermath of war, the UN humanitarian office has published final death tolls based on its own research into medical records. The UN’s counts have largely been consistent with the Gaza health ministry’s, with small discrepancies. 

For more on the Gaza health ministry’s tolls, click here.

(FRANCE 24 with AP) 

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP, Reuters)

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