MOSCOW, February 13. /TASS/. Russia views Israel's intention to launch a military operation in Rafah extremely negatively, the special presidential envoy for the Middle East and African countries, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov has told the media.
"Extremely negatively, of course," he said, answering a related question from TASS.
The senior diplomat noted that Russia had been in favor of a ceasefire from the very beginning of the upsurge in the conflict in the Middle East "in order to solve humanitarian issues as well to stop the further loss of human life."
"Unfortunately, it is simply a catastrophe that hostilities continue. Dozens, even hundreds of people are killed every day. The fatalities are huge - women, children. It's a tragedy," Bogdanov added.
On February 7, Jewish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the military had received orders to prepare for the start of fighting in Rafah on the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt. Two days later, he instructed the army to draft a plan to evacuate civilians and eliminate the four remaining Hamas battalions in the city.
On February 12, Arab media reported massive Israeli military strikes on Rafah. According to the Al Mayadeen TV channel, 100 people became victims of the bombardment and more than 230 were wounded.
Tensions flared up in the Middle East after Hamas militants from the Gaza Strip attacked Israeli territory on October 7, when many Israelis living in the settlements near the border were killed and more than 200 people, including children, women and the elderly, were taken hostage. Hamas views its attack as a response to Israeli authorities’ steps against the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Israel declared a total blockade of the Gaza Strip and launched bombardments of the enclave and some areas in Lebanon and Syria.
On December 1, the Israeli army accused Hamas of violating the truce that had been in effect since November 24 and announced that it would resume fighting in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian authorities held the United States responsible for the renewed Israeli aggression.