Jerusalem, Feb 12 (EFE).- At least 52 people were killed in Israeli airstrikes in the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, the health ministry controlled by Islamist group Hamas announced early Monday.
The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that it had carried out a wave of attacks on targets in southern Gaza without giving more details.
It also announced that it had rescued two Israeli hostages held by Hamas in a night operation in Rafah.
The freed hostages were abducted by Hamas during its attack on Israeli territory on Oct. 7.
The Israeli strikes on Rafah occurred just hours after US President Joe Biden asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to refrain from launching a military operation in the city without a plan to ensure the safety of civilians.
In a call between the two leaders on Sunday, Biden called for urgent and specific steps to increase the delivery and consistency of humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians.
“A military operation in Rafah should not proceed without a credible and executable plan for ensuring the safety of and support for the more than one million people sheltering there,” Biden said, according to a readout of the call by the White House.
The Palestinian city of Rafah is home to approximately 1.4 million Palestinians, most of them displaced from other parts of the Gaza Strip, according to the government of neighboring Egypt, and is the only safe zone in the enclave.
On Sunday, Netanyahu reiterated his intention to carry out a ground offensive in Rafah amid mounting international pressure against the operation.
Since the outbreak of war more than 4 months ago, Israel’s offensive on Gaza has left more than 28,100 Palestinians dead, including at least 112 during the last hours. EFE