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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Smoke billows during Israeli bombardment over Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 13, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. ― AFP pic
BEIJING, Feb 13 ― China urged Israel today to stop its military operation in the Gazan city of Rafah “as soon as possible”, warning of a “serious humanitarian disaster” there if fighting did not stop.
“China follows closely the developments in the Rafah area, opposes and condemns actions that harm civilians and violate international law,” a foreign ministry spokesperson said in a statement.
Beijing urged Israel to “to stop its military operation as soon as possible, (and) make every effort to avoid innocent civilian casualties, in order to prevent a more serious humanitarian disaster in the Rafah area”.
Israel is facing growing international pressure to agree to a ceasefire with Hamas as it prepares for an incursion into Rafah, the southern Gaza border city where more than a million displaced Palestinians are trapped.
Israel conducted a predawn raid in Rafah yesterday that freed two hostages and killed around 100 people, after rejecting Hamas's terms for a truce last week.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the overnight operation as “perfect”, while the Palestinian foreign ministry said the deaths of dozens of Gazans amounted to a “massacre”.
The rare rescue mission under heavy air strikes came hours after Netanyahu spoke with US President Joe Biden, who reiterated his opposition to a major assault on Rafah.
The United Nations has also warned Israel against carrying out a ground offensive into Rafah without a plan to protect civilians, who say they have nowhere left to go. ― AFP
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