The threat of an Israeli offensive against Rafah persists. The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas affirmed, Sunday February 11, that any operation by Israeli forces in this town in the south of the Gaza Strip, “would threaten” negotiations for the release of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. The Gaza Strip’s ruling group spoke out in a statement, while Israel’s prime minister said the army would “catch the last Hamas terrorist battalions in Rafah, which is the last stronghold.” More than 1.3 million Palestinians live in this city in the south of the Gaza Strip, the vast majority of them civilians having fled the fighting taking place in the rest of the Palestinian enclave. Follow our live stream.
An Israeli operation planned in Rafah. “Victory is within reach (…) We will catch the last terrorist battalions of Hamas in Rafah, which is the last bastion,” declared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an interview with ABC News channel extracts of which were revealed on Saturday evening. Benjamin Netanyahu assures ABC News that the Israeli army would offer “a secure passage for the civilian population so that they can leave”without explaining where she could go.
Hamas brandishes the risk of a “massacre” in Rafah. Hamas, in power in the Gaza Strip, warned on Saturday “against a catastrophe and a massacre which could result in tens of thousands of martyrs and wounded” in the event of an Israeli offensive against Rafah. Saudi Arabia warned on Saturday “very serious repercussions” that this assault could have on the civilian population.
A tunnel under the UNRWA headquarters. The Israeli army and internal security agency said on Saturday they had discovered a Hamas tunnel under the headquarters of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza City. The organization, which Israel accuses of being “totally infiltrated” by the Islamist movement, responded that the building had been evacuated on October 12. “We are not aware of any activity that may have taken place there.” since then wrote on its leader, Philippe Lazzarini, adding that Israel’s accusations “deserve an independent investigation.”
Strikes on Rafah. New Israeli strikes targeted Rafah on Saturday, killing five police officers, according to Palestinian security sources. The Israeli army said, for its part, that two senior military officials from the Palestinian Islamist movement had been killed in one of these strikes.