Middle East updates: Israeli leaders back Rafah offensive

World Tuesday 07/May/2024 07:23 AM
By: DW
Middle East updates: Israeli leaders back Rafah offensive

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his War Cabinet has approved a military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

"The War Cabinet has unanimously decided that Israel is continuing the operation in Rafah to exert military pressure on Hamas in order to advance the release of our hostages and the other objectives of the war," a statement from Netanyahu’s office said.

He added that efforts to secure a cease-fire would continue, and that Israel would send a delegation to meet with negotiators to try and reach an agreement.

His comments came after Hamas announced it had accepted a truce deal proposed by Egypt and Qatar.

"Even though the Hamas proposal is far from Israel's essential demands, Israel will send a working-level delegation to the mediators," Netanyahu's office said.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military announced it was striking Hamas targets in eastern Rafah after issuing evacuation orders to thousands of the city's residents earlier in the day.

Jordan's king warns Israel Rafah offensive will lead to 'new massacre'

Jordan's King Abdullah II has told US President Joe Biden that an Israeli offensive in Rafah would lead to a "new massacre."

Abdullah met with Biden at the White House on Monday.

"The king warned of the repercussions of the Israeli ground offensive on Rafah, which could cause a regional spillover of the conflict," a statement from Jordan's royal court said.

Israel has issued evacuation orders for Palestinians in some parts of the city, suggesting that a long-planned ground invasion may be imminent.

The US has urged Israel not to go ahead with the assault on southern Gaza, where more than a million people have sought refuge.

The Jordanian statement also said Biden and Abdullah stressed the importance of efforts to secure "an immediate cease-fire in Gaza," and the delivery of humanitarian aid.