Key Mediators Warn Israel Of Catastrophe If It Launches Ground Invasion On Gaza’s Rafah

Israeli airstrikes killed at least 44 Palestinians, including more than a dozen children in Rafah.

Trail of destruction left by Israeli airstrike on Gaza | Photo: AP

The key mediators and neighbouring countries have warned Israel of catastrophe if it launches ground offensive in crowded Rafah of Gaza. Israeli airstrikes on Rafah have already left at least 44 people dead.

The key mediators including Qatar and Egypt have warned Israel of repercussions if its military launches a ground invasion in Rafah. Israel has been maintain that Hamas strongholds are located in Rafah.

As per AP report, Israeli airstrikes killed at least 44 Palestinians, including more than a dozen children in Rafah, hours after Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he asked the military to plan for the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people ahead of an invasion. The announcement set off panic.

Over 2.3 million people of Gaza are packed into Rafah, which borders Egypt. Many fled there after Israeli evacuation orders that now cover two-thirds of the territory following the October 7 Hamas attack that sparked the war. It's not clear where they could go next.

Key mediators warn Israel of catastrophe:

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said any Israeli ground offensive on Rafah would have "disastrous consequences", and asserted that Israel aims to eventually force the Palestinians out of their land.

Egypt has warned that any movement of Palestinians into Egypt would threaten the four-decade-old peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

Another mediator, Qatar, also warned of disaster, and Saudi Arabia warned of "very serious repercussions". There's even increasing friction between Netanyahu and the US, whose officials have said a Rafah invasion with no plan for civilians there would lead to disaster.

"The people in Gaza cannot disappear into thin air," German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on X, adding that an Israeli offensive on Rafah would be a "humanitarian catastrophe in the making".

Israel has carried out almost daily airstrikes in Rafah, a rare entry point for Gaza's badly needed food and medical supplies, during its current ground combat in Khan Younis just to the north.

Overnight into Saturday, three airstrikes on homes in the Rafah area killed 28 people, AP reported.

It said each strike killed multiple members of a family, including a total of 10 children, the youngest three months old.

Later on Saturday, an Israeli airstrike on a home in Rafah killed at least 11 people, including three children, the report said.

In Khan Younis, Israeli forces opened fire at Nasser Hospital, the area's largest, killing at least two people and wounding five, AP reported.