Israel hits Rafah, says to free two captives | Israel’s War on Gaza News
The airstrikes come as Palestinians in Rafah brace for an offensive that aid groups fear will cause heavy casualties.
Israel has carried out airstrikes in southern Gaza’s Rafah, killing dozens, according to health officials, as Palestinians press for a major offensive on the densely populated city.
There were conflicting reports about the death toll following the strikes before Monday morning.
AFP news agency said the strikes killed 52 people, while Reuters said 37 were killed. The two centers announced health officials in Gaza.
Israeli strikes hit 14 houses and three mosques in Rafah, according to Palestinian officials.
The Israeli military said it hit several “terrorist targets” in the Shaboura area of Rafah and that the strikes had ended.
The Israeli military also said it rescued two prisoners captured by Hamas in a night operation in Rafah.
Military officials said the prisoners, identified as Fernando Simon Marman and Louis Har, were in good condition.
Hamas has warned that an Israeli ground attack in Rafah would “detonate” talks to release the group’s remaining prisoners in Gaza.
The strikes on Rafah come as Israel prepares to launch a major offensive that aid groups fear will lead to massive civilian deaths in the last relatively safe area of Gaza.
About 1.4 million Palestinians, or more than half of Gaza’s population, have flocked to Rafah to escape Israeli bombardment, which has reduced much of the rest of the enclave to rubble.
US President Joe Biden warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday not to launch an offensive on Rafah without a “plausible and workable plan” to ensure the safety of people taking refuge. shelter in the city.
Netanyahu has promised “safe passage” for Palestinians in Rafah, but a lack of clarity over evacuation plans has fueled fears they could be pushed into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, stoking tensions with Cairo.
Netanyahu told Fox News on Sunday that there is “plenty of space” north of Rafah and that is “where we are going to direct them”, without specifying which part of Gaza would be safe to evacuate.