Israeli Airstrikes Kill 18 in Gaza's Rafah as Egypt Warns of Selective Raid

Israeli airstrikes on Rafah, Gaza kill 18, including 14 children, as Israel's 7-month offensive against Hamas continues despite calls for restraint. Humanitarian crisis deepens as thousands seek shelter amid escalating conflict.

Muthana Al-Najjar
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Israeli Airstrikes Kill 18 in Gaza's Rafah as Egypt Warns of Selective Raid

Israeli Airstrikes Kill 18 in Gaza's Rafah as Egypt Warns of Selective Raid

Israeli airstrikes on the southern Gaza city of Rafah killed at least 18 people, including 14 children, on Saturday, according to Palestinian health officials. The attack hit two family homes, killing 10 residents, while missiles and artillery also struck other areas of Rafah and the surrounding region.

The Israeli military has stated that the goal of its nearly seven-month offensive in Gaza is to eradicate Hamas, the armed group that has controlled the Gaza Strip for nearly two decades. Despite calls for restraint from the international community, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims a ground offensive in Rafah is necessary.

An Egyptian official told Asharq Al-Awsat that the anticipated Rafah raid operation "may not be in the form of a comprehensive invasion, but in the form of selective operations." Palestinians have been bracing for a ground offensive on Rafah, where over 1 million displaced people are crowded into tents and temporary quarters.

Why this matters: The escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas has killed over 34,000 Palestinians, devastated Gaza's cities, and left the territory on the brink of famine. Tensions have also spiked in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, raising concerns about regional stability and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The war in Gaza was sparked by an October 7, 2023 raid into southern Israel by Hamas and other militants, which killed around 1,200 people and led to the abduction of hostages. Israel has vowed to continue the war until Hamas is destroyed and all hostages are returned.

U.S. President Joe Biden and other world leaders have urged Israel not to invade Rafah, but their calls have gone unheeded. The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $26 billion aid package on Saturday, including around $9 billion in humanitarian assistance for Gaza.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned that an Israeli military offensive in Rafah would "compound this humanitarian catastrophe." Palestinian Faten Al Masry, who was sleeping in a tent for displaced people, lost contact with her sister during the attack on Rafah, which has left thousands of Gazans seeking shelter in makeshift camps, UN schools, and hospitals.

Key Takeaways

  • Israeli airstrikes on Rafah, Gaza killed 18 people, including 14 children.
  • Israel's offensive aims to eradicate Hamas, despite calls for restraint.
  • Anticipated Rafah raid may involve selective operations, not a full invasion.
  • Conflict has killed over 34,000 Palestinians, worsening the Gaza humanitarian crisis.
  • U.S. approved $26B aid package, but Israel continues offensive despite global calls.