Palestinian mayor warns of humanitarian disaster in Rafah on eve of possible Israeli onslaught

Palestinian mayor warns of humanitarian disaster in Rafah on eve of possible Israeli onslaught

Israeli army plans to launch ground offensive in Rafah, home to more than 1.4 million residents seeking refuge from war

By Hosni Nadim

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – A Palestinian official warned Monday of humanitarian and health catastrophes in Rafah amid an imminent Israeli offensive on the city.

The Israeli army plans to launch a ground offensive in Rafah, home to more than 1.4 million residents seeking refuge from war, to defeat what Tel Aviv calls the remaining "Hamas battalions."

Palestinians have sought refuge in Rafah as Israel pounded the rest of the enclave since Oct. 7. The ensuing Israeli bombardment has killed more than 28,340 victims and caused mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

"The barbaric Israeli aggression against Rafah threatens to cause additional massacres in the coming days, let alone humanitarian and health disasters,” Rafah's Mayor Ahmed al-Soufi told Anadolu.

He said relentless Israeli attacks on the city “put immense pressure on emergency teams amid a limited number of ambulances.”

The Palestinian mayor said there is a severe shortage of medicines and medical supplies in the city.

“We are suffering amid a lack of sufficient quantities of fuel needed to operate various rescue mechanisms and vehicles and heavy machinery designated for removing rubble,” he added.

Last week, the White House warned that an Israeli offensive in Rafah "would be a disaster" for Palestinians.

The Israeli war on Gaza has 85% of the territory’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure was damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

In late 2023, South Africa filed a case at the International Court of Justice, accusing Israel of failing to uphold its commitments under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

In its interim ruling in January, the UN court ruled that South Africa’s claims are plausible. It ordered provisional measures for Israel’s government to desist from genocidal acts, and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

*Writing by Mohammad Sio

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