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Hamas urges European countries to prevent looming Israeli offensive on Rafah

Anadolu Agency MIDDLE EAST
Published February 27,2024
(AA Photo)

The Palestinian Hamas group late on Monday urged the European countries to take measures that prevent the looming Israeli offensive on Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, where about 1.4 million people are taking shelter.

On Monday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned against launching a large-scale attack on Rafah, saying: "The Palestinian citizens who fled to the southern Gaza Strip have no place to escape to."

Hamas said that it welcomes such statements but added: "They do not absolve them of their responsibilities in preventing the criminal attack on Rafah ... especially as those (European) governments continue to supply weapons" to Israel.

The Hamas statement urged European countries and the EU "to take practical and serious positions to prevent the Nazi entity from continuing its criminal war against our people."

It also urged the European governments to "act in accordance with the decisions of the International Court of Justice, which called on the entity (Israel) to stop the crime of genocide and ethnic cleansing against our Palestinian people."

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

Tel Aviv plans a ground offensive in Rafah, where 1.4 million people have taken refuge, despite international warnings and calls to avoid any such attack.

Israel has launched a deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border incursion by Hamas, killing at least 29,782 people and causing mass destruction and shortages of necessities, while nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed.

The Israeli war on Gaza has pushed 85% of the territory's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.