Middle East, Biden calls Netanyahu: no to an attack on Rafah without protecting civilians

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Middle East, Biden calls Netanyahu: no to an attack on Rafah without protecting civilians
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American President Joe Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and reiterated the United States' opposition to an attack on Rafah “without protection for Palestinian civilians”. The White House reported this in a statement. Biden, we read in the US statement, “reaffirmed that the military operation cannot proceed without a credible and executable plan to guarantee security and support for civilians in Rafah”. The American president and Netanyahu also discussed the ongoing negotiations for the release of the Israeli hostages still in the hands of Hamas, the White House adds. US Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani at the Munich Security Conference today.

Egypt is building a sort of mega fence closed by high walls in the Sinai desert, in case there were to be an exodus of displaced Palestinians from the Gaza Strip. Cairo officials revealed this to the Wall Street Journal, specifying that Egypt would try to limit the number of refugees well below the area's capacity to around 50-60 thousand people. However, Cairo authorities deny that they are building the structure. For weeks, Egypt has tried to strengthen security along the border to keep the Palestinians away, deploying soldiers and tanks. More than 100,000 people could be accommodated in the new camp, surrounded by concrete walls, Egyptian officials said, adding that a large number of tents, not yet erected, had also been delivered to the site. Cairo has been trying for weeks to prevent a wave of refugees from flooding across Egypt's borders, even threatening to pull out of the decades-old peace treaty with Israel if this were to occur following its offensive against Hamas. The fact that Cairo is now proceeding with contingency plans signals that Egyptian officials see this danger ever closer. The governor of North Sinai has denied reports of the construction of a refugee camp for Palestinians, saying the activity in the area is part of a project to inventory homes destroyed during the Egyptian military campaign against Islamic State extremists in the area.

Hundreds of Palestinian workers from the West Bank are working in Israel to help build a new barrier along the border with the Gaza Strip, despite the Israeli Security Cabinet banning them from doing so, the Ynet news site reports, citing eyewitness accounts. of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers deployed in the area. Ynet says Palestinian workers are engaged in engineering work on breaches in the fence, which was damaged in dozens of places at the start of the war against Hamas. The Israeli Ministry of Defense responded to the reports by stating that only four Palestinians are working on the project, specifying that it hires contractors “in accordance with safety guidelines, classification and sensitivity of the work” and that the workers come from a group of Palestinian workers “approved to work on essential projects” for Israel.

At least 12 people died yesterday following an Israeli air strike on the Nuseirat refugee camp in the center of the Gaza Strip. This was announced by a spokesperson for the Al Aqsa Martyrs' hospital, quoted by the international media. Ten of the victims were women and children, the source specifies. The Palestinian news agency Wafa reports that at least six people died and several others were injured in an Israeli shelling that hit a house in the Al-Nasr neighborhood of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip in the early hours of today. Two more people lost their lives in a raid launched late yesterday evening by Israeli forces against two houses east of Jabalia, in the north of the Palestinian enclave. In the previous hours, at least three people were killed and several others injured following another Israeli bombing against a vehicle and a group of individuals in the city of Gaza, according to Wafa. The total death toll in the Gaza Strip since October 7 is at least 28,663 dead and 68,395 injured, according to the Hamas-run Palestinian Ministry of Health.

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