Israel launched fresh overnight airstrikes on the Southern Gazan city of Rafah early today killing at least 27 people – while also pounding Hezbollah targets in Lebanon....CONTINUE READING THE FULL ARTICLE>>>

The deadly raids came just hours after the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urgently called on the United States to stop Israel from attacking Rafah, warning it was now the only country in the world which could prevent the “crime”.

But Israel carried out yesterday’s deadly aerial assault despite the plea.

It also appeared to ignore US President Joe Biden, who had “reiterated his clear position” on Rafah to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a tense call on Sunday.

Palestinian authorities fear the latest rash of bombing raids on Rafah – the southern Gazan city where 1.4million Palestinian refugees are now holed up in desperate conditions – are just the precursor to a major Israeli ground assault.

Despite continuing diplomatic efforts to avert futher fighting, Israel’s military is still preparing troops on the border with Gaza, seemingly to enter Rafah during a large-scale incursion.

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And ignoring international calls for a halt to the killing, Israel remained clear yesterday as to its ongoing mission to ‘completely destroy’ Hamas.

Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson Daniel Hagarisaid in a briefing: “We will continue to pursue Hamas everywhere in Gaza. We will continue doing everything in our power to bring back home our hostages.

“We will continue to fulfill our mission: free our hostages from Hamas and free Gaza from Hamas.”

Israel’s military also said that overnight it had once again struck at Hezbollah targets inside Lebanon.

In its statement, the IDF claimed: “IAF fighter jets struck Hezbollah terror targets in southern Lebanon.

“Among the targets struck were operational infrastructure in the area or Jabal Blat, as well as a number of Hezbollah military structures in the area of Marwahin.”

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The increased military raids came just hours after Palestinian President Abbas pleaded with the US to use its influence to stop Israel.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Saudi capital Riyadh earlier, Mr Abbas – whose Palestinian Authority is not present in Gaza, which has been under Hamas rule since 2007 – urged the US to intervene.

“We appeal to the United States of America to ask Israel to stop the Rafah operation because America is the only country capable of preventing Israel from committing this crime,” he said, adding that only a “small strike” on Rafah would force the Palestinian population to flee the Gaza strip.

“The biggest catastrophe in the Palestinian people’s history would then happen.”

More than half of Gaza’s population is in Rafah and conditions in the overcrowded southern city are already dire, with displaced people there telling the BBC there was a lack of food, water and medication.

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While the White House did not elaborate on what specifically Mr Biden’s latest comments to Mr Netanyahu were regarding the planning offensive in Rafah, national security spokesman John Kirby told the ABC network that Israel had agreed to listen to US concerns and thoughts before going in.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Riyadh where he will hold talks with Mr Abbas at the start of a new Middle East tour.

His arrival came after some senior US officials warned that Israel may be violating international law in Gaza.

In what is likely to cause a further souring of relations between Washington and Jerusalem, an internal memo suggests Israeli assurances that it is using US-supplied weapons in accordance with international humanitarian law are not “credible or reliable”.

The memo was sent as advice to Mr Blinken by senior Pentagon officials..CONTINUE READING>>>

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