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Israeli airstrikes kill 13 in Rafah after Netanyahu rejects Hamas’ cease-fire terms

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NEW DELHI: In a dramatic escalation of hostilities, Israeli airstrikes targeted Rafah on the border with Egypt, resulting in at least 13 fatalities overnight into Thursday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s rejection of Hamascease-fire terms prompted the offensive’s expansion into the southern Gaza town, a move that intensifies the already dire humanitarian situation.
Rafah, a critical entry point for humanitarian aid, has seen over half of Gaza’s population seeking refuge, heightening concerns about mass displacement across the Egyptian border. Egypt has warned that such actions could undermine the longstanding peace treaty with Israel, adding complexity to the regional dynamics.
Among the casualties are two women and five children, as reported by the Kuwaiti Hospital, which received the bodies. Israel’s military directives have forced Palestinians to evacuate two-thirds of the densely populated enclave, leading to squalid conditions in tent camps near Gaza’s southern border and overflowing U.N.-run shelters.
US secretary of state Antony Blinken concluded his Middle East visit on Thursday, revealing heightened public divisions between the United States and Israel amidst the ongoing conflict. The Palestinian death toll has now exceeded 27,000, according to Gaza’s health ministry.
The conflict, stemming from Hamas’ October 7 assault into Israel, has resulted in over 1,200 deaths, primarily civilians, and approximately 250 abductions. Hamas currently holds more than 130 hostages, with around 30 feared dead. The situation remains volatile, with international efforts struggling to secure a cease-fire and address the growing humanitarian crisis.

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