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German foreign minister again warns against Israeli attack on Rafah

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German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock reiterated her concerns about a planned Israeli attack on Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip in comments to parliament on Thursday.

Rafah has become packed with an estimated 1.5 million people who have fled Israeli bombing and ground operations elsewhere in Gaza, and Baerbock expressed doubts that Israeli forces could attack the city without terrible consequences for the civilian population.

The 1.5 million people in Rafah “cannot simply vanish into thin air,” Baerbock said. She expressed scepticism that it would be possible for Israeli forces to protect civilians during an offensive there.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to move forward with the assault on Rafah despite international concerns.

Baerbock on Thursday once again called for a humanitarian ceasefire in the conflict.

She argued that a ceasefire is necessary to secure the release of Israeli hostages being held by Palestinian militants in Gaza, as well as to allow desperately needed humanitarian aid to be delivered.

“We must ensure that this drama is finally over for both sides,” Baerbock said.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks during the current affairs debate on the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories during a plenary session of the German Bundestag. Jonathan Penschek/dpa

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks during the current affairs debate on the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories during a plenary session of the German Bundestag. Jonathan Penschek/dpa

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