An Israeli offensive in Rafah killed 31 Palestinians ahead of a planned ground attack.

At least 31 Palestinians, including 10 children, were killed in Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip city of Rafah on Saturday morning. President Benjamin Netanyahu Several Hamas battalions are prepared for a ground attack there.

Three airstrikes killed 28 people, including several members of three families, the youngest of whom was a three-month-old, according to a health official and Associated Press reporters who saw bodies arrive at hospitals.

Later on Saturday, another attack killed three senior civil police officers, according to Rafah city officials.

People mourn as they receive the bodies of victims of an Israeli attack in Rafah, Gaza on February 10, 2024. (Ahmed Hasabullah/Getty Images)

Israeli Defense Minister: Dozens of UNRWA personnel participated in the October 7 massacre by Hamas

Rafah, bordering Egypt at the southern tip of the Gaza Strip, is the last Hamas stronghold in Gaza after more than four months of war, Israel says. Israel has. Airstrikes are carried out almost daily in Rafah.

Rafah had a population of 264,000 in early 2022, but since the start of the conflict, the population has grown to about 1.4 million as people seek refuge there, according to the Palestinian Authority for Statistics. More than half of Gaza’s population is now crammed into the city with some of the recent arrivals living in tents. It is not clear where they will be able to run to next.

Netanyahu’s office has ordered the military to prepare one. Plan to evacuate the population of Rafah and destroyed four Hamas battalions it says are stationed there. Netanyahu said he asked the military to plan to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people from the city before a ground attack.

Damage caused by Israeli airstrikes on February 10, 2024.

At least 31 Palestinians, including 10 children, were killed in Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip city of Rafah on Saturday morning. (Ahmed Hasabullah/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, Netanyahu vowed that Israeli forces would fight to “total victory” including Rafah after ceasefire talks failed.

The timeline for a possible ground attack is not known.

Egypt strengthens its border with Gaza as Israeli attacks continue

on Saturday, Saudi Arabia warned Israel that there would be “extremely dangerous consequences” if it launched a military operation in Rafah and called on the UN Security Council to intervene.

At least 28,000 Palestinians have been killed and 67,600 others injured in Israeli attacks on Gaza since Oct. 7, the health ministry in Gaza said on Saturday, according to Reuters.

The conflict has been ongoing for four months and began after a surprise terrorist attack by Hamas on October 7, in which militants crossed the border from Gaza and Massacred about 1200 people.

A woman cries in mourning after an Israeli airstrike killed 28 people.

Three more people were killed in the subsequent attack. (Ahmed Hasabullah/Getty Images.

Saturday’s strike comes just two days later. President Biden described Israel’s actions as “over the top” in its war against Hamas.

“I think, as you know, the backlash in the Gaza Strip is on the rise,” Biden told reporters at the White House.

He called for an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel to normalize relations, increase humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians and allow for the release of hostages held by Hamas. have been.

“I’m pushing very hard right now to deal with this hostage ceasefire,” Biden said. “There are a lot of innocent people who are starving, there are a lot of innocent people who are suffering and dying, and it has to stop.”

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