China urges Israel to stop military operation in Rafah 'as soon as possible'

China urges Israel to stop military operation in Rafah 'as soon as possible'
China urges Israel to stop military operation in Rafah 'as soon as possible'

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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”.

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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”.

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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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