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Palestinians in Rafah face 'severe humanitarian crisis with nowhere to go,' warns Belgian foreign minister

During her statement on X, Hadja Lahbib emphasized the critical need for humanitarian law to be upheld in light of the dire circumstances currently unfolding in Rafah, a southern city in Gaza. With 1.4 million Palestinians seeking shelter in Rafah and having no other options, the situation has escalated into a severe humanitarian crisis.

Anadolu Agency MIDDLE EAST
Published February 10,2024

Belgium's foreign minister on Friday underscored the urgency of respecting humanitarian law amid the dire situation unfolding in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

"1.4 million Palestinians are seeking refuge in Rafah, facing a severe humanitarian crisis with nowhere to go," Hadja Lahbib said on X.

"Military intervention would lead to further loss of life. Humanitarian law must be respected. Civilians must be protected at all costs," she added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday directed the army to submit a military plan to evacuate civilians from Rafah-home to over a million people seeking refuge-and defeat Hamas battalions there.

"It is impossible to achieve the goal of the war of eliminating Hamas by leaving four Hamas battalions in Rafah," Netanyahu's office said on X. "On the contrary, it is clear that intense activity in Rafah requires that civilians evacuate the areas of combat."

It added: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the IDF (Israeli army) and the security establishment to submit to the Cabinet a combined plan for evacuating the population and destroying the battalions."

Israel did not specify the timeframe for developing this massive evacuation plan.

International estimates indicate the presence of some 1.2 million-1.4 million Palestinians in Rafah after the Israeli army forced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to evacuate from the northern Gaza Strip to the south.