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US must step in to prevent Israel's Rafah operation, Palestinian president says

According to Mahmoud Abbas, the goal of the Rafah operation is to expel the Palestinian people from their territory and repeat the events of 1948

CAIRO, February 12. /TASS/. The world community and especially the US administration should intervene to prevent Israel from carrying out a full-scale military operation in the town of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said at a meeting with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha.

"It is necessary for the international community and especially the US administration to intervene in the current situation and force Israel to prevent aggressive actions against the city of Rafah, because if this operation takes place, it will lead to a humanitarian catastrophe and the massacre of Palestinians," the WAFA news agency quoted Abbas as saying. The head of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) pointed out that at the moment over 1.5 million Palestinians, "who were forced to flee northern and central Gaza because of Israeli aggression," are in Rafah.

According to Abbas, the goal of the Rafah operation is to expel the Palestinian people from their territory and repeat the events of 1948. "We will not allow this to happen again," the PNA chief emphasized.

On February 7, Israeli 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 prepare a plan to evacuate civilians and eliminate the remaining four battalions of the Palestinian radical Hamas movement in the city. On the night of February 12, Arab media reported that the Israeli Armed Forces (IDF) launched massive strikes on the city of Rafah. According to the latest data of the Al Mayadeen TV channel, at least 100 people fell victim to the bombardment and more than 230 were injured.

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 Gaza border were killed or taken hostage. In response, Israel declared a total blockade of Gaza, launched bombardments of the enclave and some areas in Lebanon and Syria, and then went on to conduct a ground offensive in the enclave. The clashes are also reported in the West Bank. On December 1, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) blamed Hamas for violating the ceasefire, which had been in effect since November 24, and resumed its military operation in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian authorities pinned the blame for the resumption of Israel’s aggression on the United States.