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Rishi Sunak Expresses Deep Concern Over Israeli Plans for Rafah Offensive Amid Widespread Calls for Ceasefire



Rishi Sunak expresses serious worries over a possible Israeli attack on Rafah following evacuation orders to Palestinians

The Israeli military has instructed over a million residents in Rafah to evacuate, preparing for an operation in what it claims is the final bastion of Hamas.

Political correspondent @alixculbertson

Monday, May 6, 2024, 6:

Rishi Sunak is "seriously troubled" by the possibility of an Israeli attack in Rafah, located in southern Gaza.

The message follows directives from the Israeli military urging Palestinians to evacuate certain areas of the city, suggesting that the much-anticipated ground assault by Israel may be forthcoming.

Hamas agrees to proposed truce, mediators announce – live updates available

On Monday, Mr. Sunak expressed his concerns, stating, "My stance has been clear: we are greatly troubled by the possibility of a military invasion in Rafah, especially considering the large civilian population">king refuge there and the critical role the crossing plays in aid delivery."

"I've consistently emphasized those points to Prime Minister Netanyahu.

"Currently, the focus must be on getting all involved parties, especially Hamas, to consent to an agreement that would facilitate the release of hostages and permit increased aid delivery during a brief halt. This pause is crucial for establishing a lasting ceasefire."

"Ending the suffering is the optimal approach. I persist in urging all involved parties to take this action."

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has expressed opposition to an Israeli military action, stating it "should not proceed." Meanwhile, shadow foreign secretary David Lammy has urged for an "immediate ceasefire" and warned that an Israeli attack on Rafah "would have disastrous consequences."

Israel has indicated that Rafah represents the final major stronghold of Hamas, though it had earlier halted its military plans to strike the southern Gaza city to allow for negotiations concerning the release of hostages.

On Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant expressed skepticism about Hamas' commitment to an agreement, stating that the military was gearing up for an imminent, significant offensive in Rafah.

On Sunday, Hamas launched rockets from Rafah targeting Kerem Shalom, the principal entry point for aid into Israel, resulting in the death of three Israeli soldiers.

According to Palestinian health authorities, Israeli airstrikes resulted in the deaths of at least 19 individuals overnight, among them an infant.

Stay updated with real-time coverage of the conflict between Israel and Hamas

The Israeli military has issued evacuation orders to approximately 100,000 residents of eastern Rafah, directing them to a designated humanitarian area along the Mediterranean coast.

Rafah, located at the southern tip of Gaza along the border with Egypt, has become a sanctuary for over a million individuals, accounting for more than half of Gaza's total population, amid the conflict that erupted last October.

Aligning with various Western countries and aid groups, Sir Keir took to social media to advocate against an Israeli attack on Rafah, stating, "With over a million Palestinian civilians taking refuge in Rafah, an Israeli offensive should not proceed."

"An urgent halt to hostilities is necessary, alongside the prompt release of all captives, and the assurance of continuous, rapid, and secure delivery of aid into Gaza."

Discover more: What has led to global disapproval of Israel's aggressive actions?

Mr. Lammy stated: "A military strike by Israel in Rafah would be disastrous. It should not proceed.

"An urgent halt to hostilities, the prompt release of captives, and swift, unobstructed assistance for Gaza are essential."

UK Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron recently expressed significant concern regarding the ongoing situation in Rafah, urging Israel to carefully reconsider before proceeding with any additional measures.

ActionAid has expressed concerns that displacing Palestinians from Rafah without ensuring a secure place for them to go is not only illegal but could also result in disastrous outcomes.

Officials have stated that "Gaza lacks any safe areas" and humanitarian staff report witnessing some of the "harshest conditions in recent times," characterized by rampant illness, hunger, and disorder.

Madeleine McGovern of Care International UK has called on government officials to immediately halt the issuance of arms sale licenses to Israel in an effort to curb the escalation of military activities in Rafah.

"She stated that it would be morally wrong for weapons manufactured in Britain to be deployed in an attack on Rafah."

Islamic Relief has issued a warning that al Mawasi, the area to which Palestinians are being directed, is unsafe. The organization stressed that relocating more people to this area would exacerbate the existing humanitarian crisis.

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