The Israeli military launched a series of strikes on the southern city of Rafah in Gaza, killing 22 people and injuring dozens. Residents reported that heavy bombing caused widespread panic as many were caught off guard. Before previous attacks on Gaza cities, Israel had failed to provide any specific evacuation plans for civilians.
On Sunday, U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and advised against launching a military operation in Rafah without a credible plan to protect civilians. Aid agencies warned that an assault on Rafah would be catastrophic as it is the last relatively safe place in an enclave devastated by Israel’s military offensive.
Biden and Netanyahu discussed the rising civilian death toll in Gaza and the Hamas-run health ministry reported that Israel has responded with a military assault on the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 28,000 Palestinians. The Hamas-run Aqsa Television also reported that Hamas militants killed 1,200 people in southern Israel and abducted at least 250 during their October 7 incursion.
Hamas leader said any Israeli ground offensive in Rafah will “blow up” hostage exchange negotiations. Biden expressed grave concern over the escalating violence and called for an immediate ceasefire while Netanyahu urged caution but refused to call for an immediate end to hostilities.