Tens of thousands of people could be killed or injured in Rafah if Israeli forces launch a ground offensive, according to Hamas. The Islamic extremist movement warned about the severe consequences of such an action, which could lead to a humanitarian catastrophe. Witnesses reported bombings in the surrounding areas of Rafah as intense fighting continues at the Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis and Al Amal hospital in Rafah was raided by Israeli forces.
The conflict in Gaza began when Islamist militants killed more than 1,160 people and kidnapped about 250 in southern Israel. In response, Israel vowed to “annihilate” Hamas and launched a relentless campaign of bombing and ground operations against the territory. The war has resulted in the death of mainly women, children, and adolescents.
On the diplomatic front, a “new cycle of negotiations” began in Cairo with the aim of obtaining greater access to humanitarian aid to Gaza and an exchange of hostages held by Hamas by Palestinian prisoners in Israel. The war has also exacerbated tensions in other countries such as Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen where Iranian-backed groups have launched attacks in support of Hamas, prompting retaliation from Israel and its allies.