Rafah strikes: UK urges Israel to ‘stop and think’ amid ‘unbearable’ death toll

UK foreign secretary David Cameron has warned that Palestinians sheltering in the southern Gaza city of Rafah have nowhere to go.

Palestinians inspect the damage to residential buildings where two Israeli hostages were reportedly held before being rescued during an operation by Israeli security forces in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024. The Israeli military said early Monday that it had rescued the two hostages from captivity in the Gaza Strip. The operation, which was accompanied by airstrikes, killed dozens of Palestinians, according to local health officials. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)
Palestinians inspect the damage to residential buildings where two Israeli hostages were reportedly held before being rescued during an operation in Rafah. (AP)

Israel is coming under mounting international pressure not to launch a ground offensive on the southern city of Rafah, which has become the last refuge of thousands of Palestinians during the war in Gaza.

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted the attack is needed to win the war against Hamas, but concerns remain over the safety of the 1.5 million people sheltering in the city. UK foreign secretary Lord David Cameron said there's "nowhere for them to go", with the southern border with Egypt closed, adding: "We want Israel to stop and think very seriously before it takes any further action."

In another sign that some Western allies are losing their patience with the Israeli government, the EU's chief diplomat Josep Borrell warned that if a ground attack on Rafah does go ahead, the death toll will be "unbearable" as people are "bombed without being able to escape".

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society warned that "no place" is safe in Gaza, and that the destruction of infrastructure and transportation has made it "impossible for people to make their way anywhere". In another chilling warning, Iran has said an attack on Rafah would mean "severe consequences for Tel Aviv”.

Even the US, Israel's closest ally, has urged Israel not to go ahead with the assault without a "credible" plan to protect civilians, with Joe Biden due to meet the King of Jordan today to discuss how to bring about a ceasefire.

Despite facing increasing international pressure, Israel seems intent on pressing on, having carried out a "series of strikes" in southern Gaza on Monday, and announcing the rescue of two Israeli-Argentinian hostages from Rafah during a night-time operation.

Later in the day, having been safely returned to Israel, Fernando Simon Marman and Louis Hare were pictured embracing their loved ones at Sheba Medical Center, in Ramat Gan, having been kept apart for more than 120 days.

Yahoo live's coverage has now ended. Read below for a full recap of what happened on Monday or go to the Yahoo homepage for more updates.

  • What has happened during previous incidents on the Gaza border?

    Egyptian volunteers gather next to a truck carrying humanitarian aid drives through the Rafah crossing from the Egyptian side, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah, Egypt October 22, 2023. REUTERS/Stringer
    Egyptian volunteers gather next to a truck carrying humanitarian aid at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. (Reuters)

    With an unprecedented number of people fleeing for their safety within Gaza, Egypt is worried about an uncontrollable influx of refugees who may never be able to return home.

    Although no previous war between Israel and the Palestinian territories has been this fierce, there have been previous incidents when Gaza's border with Egypt was breached.

    However, the numbers were comparatively small, and those people were not seeking shelter or to stay.

    Following Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Palestinians breached the fence, with some clambering over with make-shift ramps and using ropes. At one place, Palestinian militants rammed a concrete barrier to break a hole.

    Hamas breached the frontier again in 2008, challenging a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt after the group seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 from the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority. The border remained breached for about 10 days before Egypt resealed it.

  • Benjamin Netanyahu praises special police force that rescued hostages from Gaza

    Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met the special police unit that rescued two hostages held by Hamas in a house in Rafah.

    Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, were both taken from Kibbutz Nir Yizhak in the 7 October attack. They were rescued in an overnight raid which officials in Gaza said killed 74 Palestinians.

    Recounting the rescue operation to Netanyahu, a masked officer said: "We placed the explosives on the door, we exploded the door, the second I walked in I saw two terrorists running into the room... We did what needed to be done."

    Praising the unit, Netanyahu said: "You killed the kidnappers, the terrorists and made your way back to Israel without harm.

    "A perfect operation. A perfect execution. And I want to tell you how proud I am of you. I'm proud of you, of the Shin Bet, the IDF — you worked together like an oiled machine."

  • UN special rapporteur banned from Israel over 'anti-Semitic' statements

    MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 18: The UN Rapporteur for Human Rights Francesca Albanese, during the event 'The right of Palestine to exist', at the headquarters of the European Parliament, on 18 January, 2024 in Madrid, Spain. During the event, the current situation in Palestine and the necessary steps to be taken by the different actors of the international community were analyzed. In addition, the participants demanded the right of Palestinians to live 'in peace' in their State, free from Israeli attacks. (Photo By Fernando Sanchez/Europa Press via Getty Images)
    Francesca Albanese pictured at an event in Madrid titled 'The right of Palestine to exist'. (Getty Images)

    A UN special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories will be barred from entering Israel, two of the country's ministers said today.

    Announcing the ban against Francesca Albanese, Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz and interior minister Moshe Arbel said: "The era of Jews being silent is over. If the UN wants to return to being a relevant body, its leaders must publicly disavow the antisemitic words of the special envoy - and fire her immediately.

    “Preventing her from entering Israel might remind her of the real reason why Hamas slaughtered babies, women, and adults.”

    Last week Albanese prompted backlash for suggesting the victims of 7 October were "not killed because of their Judaism, but in response to Israel's oppression". This was in response to French president Emmanuel Macron calling the attack the "the largest antisemitic massacre of our century".

    This afternoon, Albanese tweeted: "Israel's 'denying me entry' is not news: Israel has denied entry to ALL Special Rapporteurs/oPt since 2008!

    "This must not become a distraction from Israel's atrocities in Gaza, which are taking a new level of horror with the bombing of people in 'safe areas' in #Rafah."

  • International Criminal Court 'investigating any crimes in Gaza'

    The International Criminal Court (ICC) is "actively investigating any crimes allegedly committed" in Gaza, its prosecutor Karim Khan has said.

    "All wars have rules and the laws applicable to armed conflict cannot be interpreted so as to render them hollow or devoid of meaning," he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

    "Since that time, I have not seen any discernible change in conduct by Israel. As I have repeatedly emphasised, those who do not comply with the law should not complain later when my Office takes action pursuant to its mandate."

  • Rafah offensive will bring ‘severe consequences’, warns Iran

    Damascus. 11th Feb, 2024. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian speaks at a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad?in Damascus, Syria on Feb. 11, 2024. Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad reiterated on Sunday that Syria's top priority is to defy the presence of any unauthorized foreign forces on its territory. Credit: Ammar Safarjalani/Xinhua/Alamy Live News
    Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, speaking at a conference in Syria yesterday. (Alamy)

    An offensive on Rafah will result in “severe consequences” for Israel, the Iranian foreign minister has warned.

    Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said: “Extending the scope of war crimes and genocide of the occupying Israeli regime to the Palestinian refugees in Rafah will have severe consequences for Tel Aviv”.

    His comments come amid reports of a looming Israeli ground invasion in the highly populated southern Gaza city.

    Read the full story from the Telegraph here

  • Houthis target cargo ship bound for Iran, shipping analysts say

    File - Houthi fighters stage a rally against the U.S. government designating Houthis as a terror group and against the U.S.-led sustained airstrikes on Yemen, near Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024. Attacks by Houthi rebels are posing a new threat to the future of energy supplies to the European Union, which relies on imported oil and natural gas. (AP Photo /Osamah Abdulrahman, File)
    Houthi fighters have staged several attacks on ships in the Red Sea during the course of the war. (AP)

    Yemen's Houthis have targeted a cargo ship in the Red Sea which shipping analysts said on Monday had been carrying corn to Iran.

    It appeared to be the first time the coalition of fighters targeted a vessel bound to the Islamic Republic, to whom they are politically aligned, during their attacks in response to the Israel-Hamas war.

    The Houthis identified the vessel as the Star Iris. The group's military spokesman, Yahya Saree, said the ship was American, but maritime-shipping trackers said the Marshall Islands-flagged ship was Greek-owned.

    The Star Iris had been transporting a corn cargo from Brazil to Iran, according to ship tracking analysis from data and analytics group Kpler.

    A US defence official said it was likely that the ship had been targeted but not hit, but provided no further comment. No casualties have been reported.

    Ishan Bhanu, lead agricultural commodities analyst at Kpler, suggested the ship had not diverted away from the Red Sea as it could have been considered "friendly" due to its destination.

    A regional security official said the attack appeared designed to "show Iran does not control the Houthis and they act independently," and that the Houthis had informed Tehran in advance.

  • Joe Biden to discuss possible Gaza ceasefire with King of Jordan

    Reportage: President Joe Biden greets King Abdullah II of Jordan, Thursday, February 2, 2023, in the Oval Office of the White House.
    President Joe Biden meeting King Abdullah II of Jordan in February 2023. (Alamy)

    US president Joe Biden will meet Jordan's King Abdullah at the White House today to discuss the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip.

    It comes as Biden has become increasingly vocal in his demand for Israel not to undertake a ground offensive in the southern city of Rafah without a "credible" plan to protect civilians.

    Before embarking on a tour of Western capitals, Abdullah participated in an airdrop of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

    The king, who has been vocal in calling for an end to Israel's campaign, is expected to urge Biden to support an immediate ceasefire.

    The two leaders are to hold Oval Office talks, then make statements to the news media. A senior Biden administration official told reporters on Sunday that Biden's meeting with the king would focus on ending the war in Gaza.

  • Pro-Palestine activist will challenge Sir Keir Starmer at election

    Andrew Feinstein, former ANC MP in South Africa, addresses tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters in Whitehall during a rally to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and an end to Israel's occupation on 3rd February 2024 in London, United Kingdom. The event was organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Muslim Association of Britain, Palestinian Forum in Britain and CND. (photo by Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images)
    Andrew Feinstein, former ANC MP in South Africa, addresses tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters in Whitehall on 3 February. (Getty Images)

    A pro-Palestine activist will stand against Sir Keir Starmer in his constituency at the next general election as left-wing campaigners attempt to unseat the Labour leader.

    Andrew Feinstein will run as a candidate in Holborn and St Pancras after he was chosen by a pressure group set up in support of Jeremy Corbyn, Sir Keir’s predecessor.

    Sir Keir is almost certain to hold his seat after winning a majority of more than 27,000 at the last general election, but Mr Feinstein’s candidacy is the latest sign of the backlash to Labour’s stance on the war in Gaza.

    Read the full story from the Telegraph here

  • Head of UN Palestinian refugee agency has 'no intention to resign'

    UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini speaks during a press conference at the end of an Informal Foreign Affairs Council (Development Ministers) in Brussels, on February 12, 2023. (Photo by Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP) (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)
    UNRWA commissioner general Philippe Lazzarini. (Getty Images)

    The head of UNRWA has said he has "no intention to resign" from the United Nation's agency for Palestinian refugees.

    Philippe Lazzarini's comments came after Israel accused some staff members of participating in the 7 October attack.

    UNRWA has launched an internal investigation and has dismissed staff accused of being involved. A number of donor countries, including the UK, have suspended funding since the allegations were made.

  • The UNRWA case reveals a much larger problem with humanitarian aid

    --PHOTO TAKEN DURING A CONTROLLED TOUR AND SUBSEQUENTLY EDITED UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE ISRAELI MILITARY-- This picture taken during a media tour organised by the Israeli army on February 8, 2024, shows Israeli soldiers inside an evacuated compound of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza City, amid ongoing fighting between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
    Israeli soldiers inside an evacuated compound of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in Gaza City. (Getty Images)

    Evidence implicating UNRWA employees in the 7 October terrorist attacks should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the activities of the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees closely.

    Allegations that some UNRWA workers were in fact Hamas operatives are merely the latest iteration of a much larger problem plaguing the international aid sector.

    A stunning lack of oversight and regulation of humanitarian funds over the past several decades has allowed untold billions in taxpayer money to make their way into terrorists’ coffers.

    Read the full stor from Euronews here

  • Protesters accused of displaying 'paraglider' images at London rally

    Pauline Ankunda, 26, arrives at Westmintser Magistrates' Court on February 12, 2024

Noimutu Olayinka Taiwo, 27, arrives at Westmintser Magistrates' Court, central London on February 12 2024
    Pauline Ankunda, 26, (left) and Noimutu Olayinka Taiwo, 27, arrive at Westminster Magistrates' Court today. (PA)

    Three people who attended a pro-Palestinian march in central London displayed images of paragliders, “celebrating” the Hamas tactic, a court has heard.

    Heba Alhayek, 29, and Pauline Ankunda, 26, attached images of paragliders to their backs, while Noimutu Olayinka Taiwo, 27, stuck one to the handle of a placard, it is alleged.

    Prosecutors say the images were displayed on 14 October 2023, seven days after militants from Hamas – a banned terror organisation in the UK – used paragliders to launch their 7 October attack on Israel.

    The trio are all charged under the Terrorism Act with carrying or displaying an article to arouse reasonable suspicion that they are supporters of banned organisation Hamas. They deny the charges.

    After the Metropolitan Police launched a social media appeal to find them, Alhayek and Ankunda handed themselves in to Croydon Police Station, the court heard.

    In a police interview, the pair initially claimed someone at the demonstration “who was not known to them” had stuck the images to their backs, before changing their statements, admitting they had attached them themselves, the court was told.

    When arrested an interviewed under caution, Taiwo claimed to have been handed the placard and not paid proper attention to the “blurry image” it displayed, the court heard. The trial continues.

  • Where is Rafah located and why were people told to shelter there?

    The Gaza Strip and surroundings, gray political map. Gaza, a self-governing Palestinian territory and narrow piece of land.
    Rafah is the southernmost city in the Gaza Strip, and the final refuge for many Palestinians. (Alamy)

    Even before Israel signalled its impending ground assault on Rafah, the city was of particular importance to Gaza.

    It is the southernmost city in the Palestinian enclave, where people earlier in the war had been ordered by the IDF to evacuate as the military launched attacks further north.

    Despite Rafah, and nearby Khan Younis, being designated by Israel as "safe zones", they have not been spared from airstrikes since the war began on 7 October.

    As many Palestinians fled south, Rafah's population has swelled from a pre-war population of around 300,000 people to 1.5 million, according to MSF. This accounts for more than half of the Gaza Strip's 2.3 million population.

    Many are living in tent camps or in UN-run shelters, where conditions have been deteriorating, with aid workers struggling to supply people with enough food and clean water.

    The southern city lies by the Rafah border crossing, which is currently the only route for aid coming into Gaza. Aid workers say the delivery of supplies has been severely delayed as Israeli officials inspect trucks coming through.

    According to CNN the crossing is also designed as an entry point for people, rather than goods, which could also be causing trouble for the large convoys of lorries.

    While Israel insists it will issue directives for people in Rafah to evacuate, fears still remain that there is nowhere safe for Palestinians to flee. Egypt has so far refused to take in Palestinian refugees, fearing they would never be allowed by Israel to return home.

  • Ship in Red Sea Signals All-Muslim Crew to Avoid Houthi Attack

    Armed supporters of Yemen's Houthi followers take part in a pro-Palestinian protest amid the ongoing battle in Palestine.
    Armed Houthis take part in a pro-Palestinian protest amid the ongoing war in Palestine. (Alamy)

    Commercial ships in the Red Sea are getting more creative in their efforts to avoid attacks by Yemen’s Houthi militants.

    Livestock carrier Cattle Force appealed to the Houthis as co-religionists in an apparent bid to ensure safe passage.

    On Sunday, as it approached the narrow Bab el-Mandeb Strait off Yemen’s coast, it changed its destination signal — something widely available on the internet for most vessels — from an Iraqi port to: “All Crew Muslims.”

    Once safely through the strait on Monday morning, it switched back to Iraq’s Umm Qasr, according to tracking data analyzed by Bloomberg.

    Read the full story from Bloomberg here

  • Freed hostages reunite with loved ones

    Here's video of the moment the two freed Israeli hostages met with loved ones.

  • Injured girl recounts father's death

    Mai al-Najjar recounted how she lost her father in the strikes. (Reuters)
    Mai al-Najjar recounted how she lost her father in the strikes. (Reuters)

    Among those injured in the overnight strikes that killed at least 67 people was a young girl, Mai al-Najjar, who recounted in tears how she lost her father.

    “We were in the tent, me and all my family, when the bullets all came at us. My father went to see what’s happening and said there were strikes, and a strike happened while he was talking, we all fled,” she said.

    “My father was martyred. While in the car he kept saying ‘I bear witness that there is one God' and he died,” added al-Najjar.

    People in Rafah said two mosques and several residential buildings were hit in more than an hour of strikes by Israeli warplanes, tanks and ships, causing widespread panic among Gazans woken from their sleep.

    Some feared Israel had begun a long-expected ground offensive in the city, where more than a million people displaced by Israel's war on Hamas are sheltering with nowhere else to go.

    Palestinian children wounded in an Israeli strike rest as they receive treatment at a hospital, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, February 12, 2024. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
    Palestinian children wounded in the Israeli strike receive treatment at a hospital. (Reuters)
  • Four 'extremist' Israelis hit with sanctions

    In a separate development in the UK, four "extremist" Israeli settlers accused of committing human rights abuses against Palestinian communities in the West Bank have had sanctions imposed on them.

    According to the foreign office, those now subject to a UK asset freeze, travel and visa ban include:

    • Moshe Sharvit – an extremist settler who has threatened, harassed and assaulted Palestinian shepherds and their families in the Jordan Valley. In October 2023, one community of twenty families fled after Sharvit attacked the residents and told them they had five hours to leave;

    • Yinon Levy – leader of the ‘Meitarim Farm’ outpost, founded in 2021, whose settlers have used physical violence and the destruction of property to displace Palestinian communities including Zanuta in October 2023;

    • Zvi Bar Yosef – a settler leader who, since setting up the ‘Zvi’s Farm’ outpost in 2018, has used intimidation and violence against local Palestinians, including twice threatening at gunpoint young families having a picnic;

    • Ely Federman – involved in multiple incidents against Palestinian shepherds in the South Hebron Hills.

    Read the full story here

  • Labour candidate 'fell for online conspiracy theory'

    Labour candidate for Rochdale, Azhar Ali, speaks in Rochdale during the launch of his campaign for the up-coming Rochdale by-election, triggered by the death of Sir Tony Lloyd. Picture date: Wednesday February 7, 2024.
    Labour candidate for Rochdale, Azhar Ali. (PA)

    Sir Keir Starmer came under growing pressure to cut adrift Labour’s Rochdale by-election candidate as a shadow minister admitted he had repeated an “antisemitic conspiracy theory”.

    Labour was on Monday morning still standing by Azhar Ali as its candidate in the by-election on February 29 even after he claimed that Israel deliberately allowed the October 7 massacre of more than 1,200 citizens by Hamas to happen.

    Mr Ali apologised for his “deeply offensive” comments after he was recorded suggesting at a meeting of the Lancashire Labour Party that Israel had left the door open for the terror group to carry out its horrific attack to provide grounds to invade Gaza.

    But Labour’s decision to stick by Mr Ali has been heavily criticised, especially given the stance Sir Keir has taken against other Labour figures who have made offensive or controversial comments.

    Read the full story on the Evening Standard here

  • Sunak wants Israel to stop and think

    Palestinians inspect the site of an Israeli strike on a mosque, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, February 12, 2024. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
    Palestinians inspect the site of an Israeli strike on a mosque. (Reuters)

    Downing Street has echoed the Foreign Secretary’s calls for Israel to “stop and think seriously” before carrying out military action against Hamas in Rafah, southern Gaza.

    The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We are obviously deeply concerned about the prospect of a military offensive in Rafah. Over half of Gaza’s population are sheltering there and that crossing is vital to ensuring aid can reach the people who desperately need it

    “The priority in Gaza must be an immediate pause in the fighting to get aid in and hostages out, such that we can then make progress towards a sustainable, permanent ceasefire.”

    Downing Street declined to say whether the Prime Minister believes “total victory” over Hamas was realistic.

    Asked about Benjamin Netanyahu’s claims that total victory was within reach, Mr Sunak’s official spokesman said: “That’s the prime minister of Israel’s language.

    “From the PM’s perspective, what we want to see is a pause in this fighting so we can get aid in and hostages out, and obviously what we all want to see is a sustainable ceasefire."

  • Rescued Israeli hostages meet loved ones

    The two rescued Israeli-Argentinian hostages - Fernando Simon Marman and Louis Hare - have reunited with loved ones at Sheba Medical Center, in Ramat Gan.

    Fernando Simon Marman and Louis Hare, two Israeli hostages who, according to the Israeli military, were freed in a special forces operation in Rafah, Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, reunite with loved ones at Sheba Medical Center, in Ramat Gan, Israel, February 12, 2024.  Israel Defense Forces/Handout via REUTERS    THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
    Fernando Simon Marman (right) and Louis Hare (left).
    Fernando Simon Marman and Louis Hare, two Israeli hostages who, according to the Israeli military, were freed in a special forces operation in Rafah, Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, reunite with loved ones at Sheba Medical Center, in Ramat Gan, Israel, February 12, 2024.  Israel Defense Forces/Handout via REUTERS    THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY
    Fernando Simon Marman and Louis Hare, two Israeli hostages who, according to the Israeli military, were freed in a special forces operation in Rafah, Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, reunite with loved ones at Sheba Medical Center, in Ramat Gan, Israel, February 12, 2024, in this still image obtained from a video.  Israel Defense Forces/Handout via REUTERS    THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY
  • EU tells Israel death toll is unbearable

    The EU's chief diplomat Josep Borrell has given a statement about the situation in Rafah, telling reporters:

    "The situation with Egypt is very tense and we are extraordinarily concerned about what is happening there. Many ministers of the European Union have been issuing messages yesterday – me too – asking Israel not to prevent the humanitarian support to come into Gaza.

    "If they launch a military operation at the border with Egypt, Egypt has already said that in this case, the humanitarian support will not be able to go into Gaza.

    "Even the President of the United States [Joe Biden] said yesterday that the operations are no longer proportional, that they are excessive, that the toll of people being killed is unbearable. I think this assessment more and more comes from many people around the world.

    "People in Gaza cannot escape. They are in closed doors. They are being bombed without being able to escape."

  • Cameron urges Israel to stop and think

    Israel should “stop and think seriously” before taking further action in Rafah in the south of Gaza, the foreign secretary has said.

    Speaking to reporters in East Kilbride, Scotland, Lord David Cameron said: “We are very concerned about what is happening in Rafah, because let’s be clear the people there, many of who have moved four, five, six times before getting there.

    “It really, we think, is impossible to see how you can fight a war amongst these people, there is nowhere for them to go. They can’t go south into Egypt, they can’t go north and back to their homes because many have been destroyed.

    “So we are very concerned about the situation and we want Israel to stop and think seriously before it takes any further action. But above all, what we want is an immediate pause in the fighting. We want that pause to lead to a ceasefire, a sustainable ceasefire without a return to further fighting. That is what should happen now.

    “We need to get those hostages out, including the British nationals. We need to get the aid in. The best way to do that is to stop the fighting now and turn that into a permanent, sustainable ceasefire.”

  • Court orders Netherlands to stop F-35 parts delivery to Israel

    A Lockheed Martin F-35 fighting jet takes part in a flying display at the Farnborough Airshow, in Farnborough, on July 19, 2022.
    A Lockheed Martin F-35 fighting jet takes at the Farnborough Airshow in 2022. (AFP)

    The Netherlands must stop delivering parts for F-35 fighter jets used by Israel in the Gaza Strip, after a Dutch court Monday ruled there was a "clear risk" the planes would be involved in breaking international humanitarian law.

    The Appeals Court in The Hague sided with a group of human rights organisations that argued the parts contributed to violations of law by Israel in its war with Hamas.

    "The court therefore orders the State to put an end to the further export of F-35 parts to Israel within 7 days," said the ruling.

    Read the story in full from AFP here

  • 'No safe place left for Gazans to evacuate', warns Palestinian Red Crescent Society

    RAFAH, GAZA - FEBRUARY 12: A view of the pothole formed as a result of Israeli attack at the street as buildings heavily damage after Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza on February 12, 2024. Building targeted in the Israeli attacks and surrounding structures were damaged as Israel's air, land and sea attacks continue on the Gaza Strip. (Photo by Yasser Qudih/Anadolu via Getty Images)
    The aftermath of an Israeli strike in the southern city of Rafah, whose people are bracing for a ground invasion. (Getty Images)

    A spokesperson for the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has warned there is nowhere left for civilians in Gaza to go, with nearly half of the territory's population now sheltering in Rafah.

    Speaking to Al Jazeera, Nebal Farsakh said: "Rafah already has nearly half of Gaza’s population. Since the beginning of the war in Gaza, people have been fleeing to Rafah following Israeli evacuation orders. Families have already evacuated up to 10 times.

    "The question is – where should people go? There is no safe place at all and there is no way to evacuate. On top of that, there is a complete destruction of the infrastructure, and the lack of transportation as well makes it impossible for people to make their way anywhere."

  • SNP Westminster leader urges Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer to back ceasefire

    The prime minister and Labour leader are facing growing pressure to back an immediate ceasefire in Gaza as Israel prepares to launch a ground invasion of Rafah.

    Writing to Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer, SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn said such an attack would "amount to waging a war in the largest refugee camp in the world".

    Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked the military to plan for the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people in the city of Rafah ahead of an expected ground invasion.

    The city, on the southern border with Egypt, is providing refuge to more than half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million people.

    In his letter, Flynn said that such an assault there “cannot be allowed to happen” and urged them to join the SNP in calling for an immediate ceasefire.

    He said "whatever our differences on this issue in the past number of months", at this point, "surely now is the time to say enough is enough".

    The Conservative Party and Labour have been calling for humanitarian pauses and a "sustainable ceasefire", rather than an immediate one. This would mean it must be sustainable in the long term, and that Hamas are no longer a threat to Israel.

  • Hind Rajab, Gazan girl, 6, who spoke of fear on phone to rescuers, found dead

    Palestinian girl Hind Rajab poses for a photograph, in this undated handout picture obtained by Reuters on February 10, 2024. Palestine Red Crescent Society/ Family Handout via REUTERS
    Hind Rajab, 6, was reportedly fleeing Gaza City with her family when they caught in gunfire. (Reuters)

    Hind Rajab, a 6-year-old child in Gaza who pleaded on the phone to be rescued from a mangled car where she was surrounded by her dead relatives, was found dead alongside them nearly two weeks later, according to her family and the Palestine Red Crescent Society.

    Hind’s body was located in the Tel al-Hawa section of Gaza City on Saturday after Israeli forces retreated from the area. The bombed-out remains of an ambulance dispatched to rescue her were found close by.

    Hind had stayed on the phone for around three hours with the Palestine Red Crescent Society on Jan. 29, desperately pleading for help, the agency said.

    Read the full story from HuffPost here

  • UK 'deeply concerned' by human suffering in Gaza

    Security minister Tom Tugendhat says he hopes the war in Gaza will "end very soon" and has called for a pause to allow more aid to be delivered to the Palestinian people.

    Asked about Israel's impending ground assault on the southern city of Rafah, the last refuge of many Gazans fleeing for safety throughout the war, he said the UK government is "deeply concerned" by what's been happening in the besieged territory.

    "The human suffering is really quite terrible and the number of Palestinians who've sadly lost their lives in recent operations is really very sad," he told GB News this morning.

    "But we've also seen, last night, the release of two hostages, which demonstrates that very sadly, that the Israelis have got a point in trying to rescue their citizens from this terrible situation.

    "There's still some 100 Israeli citizens being held hostage now for well over 100 days, and this absolutely vile crime that Hamas committed on October the 7th is still leaving many, many families grieving and of course many, many suffering, both Israeli and Palestinian.

    "I think we're all hoping that this will end, and end very soon. What we hope for now is a pause to get aid in, and the British government has been extremely clear in our aims to get aid and support in to the Palestinian people, and to end the suffering as quickly as possible."

  • Israeli attack follows warning from Biden

    FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden looks on as he meets with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 9, 2024. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo
    Joe Biden has described Israel's offensive as "over the top". (Reuters)

    Israel's offensive came hours after US President Joe Biden told Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel should not launch any military operation in Rafah without a credible plan to ensure the safety of the roughly 1 million people sheltering there.

    Biden and Netanyahu spoke for about 45 minutes on Sunday, days after the US leader said Israel's military response in the Gaza Strip had been "over the top" and expressed grave concern over the rising civilian death toll in the Palestinian enclave.

    The call focused largely on ongoing efforts to secure the release of the remaining 132 hostages held by the Islamist Hamas group in Gaza, a senior White House official said, noting that "real progress" had been made in recent weeks.

    While there were still some "significant" gaps to close, the official said the deal was "pretty much there," adding that Biden had stressed the need to capitalise on that progress to "secure the release of all hostages as soon as possible."

  • Netanyahu warns of continued military pressure

    Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel would not pass up any opportunity to free more hostages from Gaza and described sustained military pressure until "total victory" over Hamas as necessary for their full recovery.

    “Fernando and Louis, welcome home,” he said. “I salute our brave fighters for the daring action that led to their release.

    “Only continued military pressure, until total victory, will bring about the release of all of our hostages. We will not miss any opportunity to bring them home.”

    The Israel Defense Forces said the two hostages - Fernando Simon Marman and Louis Har - were "in good medical condition" and were transferred for further medical examination in Israel.

  • Rafah attack sparks call for ceasefire

    Palestinians inspect the site of an Israeli strike on a mosque, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, February 12, 2024. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
    Palestinians inspect the site of an Israeli strike on a mosque in Rafah. (Reuters)

    The head of the World Health Organization has reiterated calls for a ceasefire in Gaza and expressed particular concern at Israeli attacks on Rafah where most of the enclave's inhabitants have fled.

    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said only 15 out of 36 hospitals in Gaza were "still partially or minimally functioning" and that aid workers were doing their best in impossible circumstances.

    Speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai, he said the WHO, the UN's health agency, continued to call for safe access for humanitarian personnel and supplies, for Hamas to release hostages, and for a ceasefire.

    "I am especially concerned by the recent attacks on Rafah where the majority of Gaza's population has fled the destruction," he said.

    Read the full story from Reuters here