Israeli army approves plan for ground offensive in Rafah

The Israeli army on Sunday approved a plan for a ground offensive in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, according to local media.

“The plan will be presented when the army is requested to do so,” Army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said during a Cabinet session as cited by the Israeli public broadcaster KAN.

The Israeli army plans to launch a ground offensive in Rafah, home to more than 1 million residents seeking refuge from war, to defeat what Tel Aviv calls the remaining "Hamas battalions." The planned offensive has triggered concerns of a humanitarian catastrophe in the city.

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 28,000 victims and caused mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

On Wednesday, 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.

The UN court, in its interim ruling in January, 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.

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