At least 67 people were killed in air raids on the overcrowded city of Rafah, according to a statement from the Hamas-run territory’s Ministry of Health.
The predawn strikes on Monday hit 14 houses and three mosques in different parts of the city in the south of the enclave, the Hamas government reported.
The Israeli military said it “conducted a series of strikes on terror targets in the area of Shaboura in the southern Gaza Strip”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US broadcaster ABC News that the Rafah operation would continue until Hamas was eliminated, adding he would provide “safe passage” to civilians wishing to leave.
When pressed to specify where they might go, Netanyahu said: “You know, the areas that we’ve cleared north of Rafah, plenty of areas there. But, we are working out a detailed plan.”
The Israeli military announced early on Monday that two people had been rescued in Rafah after nearly 130 days in captivity.
In a statement, the army identified the two as Fernando Simon Marman and Louis Har, saying they “were kidnapped by the Hamas terrorist organization on October 7th from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak”. Both were in “good medical condition”, it added.
About 1.4 million Palestinians have crowded into Rafah, with many living in tents, while food, water and medicine are becoming increasingly scarce.
The precarious humanitarian situation in Rafah has prompted aid groups and foreign governments, including Israel’s key ally the United States, to express deep concern over the potentially disastrous consequences of expanding operations there.
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