Israel launched an offensive with air and sea attacks in the Gazan city of Rafah early Monday morning, leading to the deaths of 67 people and wounding many others according to local health officials.
The offensive and accompanying special operation allowed Israel to free two of its hostages, who were found in healthy condition and transported to the Tel Hashomer Medical Complex. The hostages were being held on the second floor of a structure that was raided and breached with an explosive by Israeli forces, according to military spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht.
Airstrikes were conducted in the proximity of the building to allow the forces to pull out and bring them to safety. Israeli planes, tanks, and ships fired on the area, hitting two mosques and multiple houses. Residents were asleep when the strikes occurred and woke up fearing that the ground invasion of Rafah had begun, according to Reuters journalists. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) announced that the offensive had “concluded” later Monday and that nothing more should be expected in the near future.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the press that Israel would not be organizing a ground offensive in Rafah without a “detailed plan” to prevent casualties among the civilian population, which includes about 1.4 million people who have fled from northern Gaza. Nevertheless, he confirmed a ground invasion is in the works, saying, “We’re going to do it. We’re going to get the remaining Hamas terrorist battalions in Rafah, which is the last bastion, but we’re going to do it.”
The New York-born Prime Minister added Israel will be “providing safe passage for the civilian population so they can leave.”
Humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has been ringing the alarm bell about the ground invasion of Rafah, claiming it will lead to “catastrophic” results. Similarly, the United Nations predicts “unprecedented levels of acute food insecurity, hunger, and near-famine-like conditions in Gaza.”
In a video clip that circulated online, a Palestinian is seen attempting to rescue a young man who had been shot by an Israeli sniper near Nasser Hospital, about seven miles from Rafah. Two Palestinians have been killed and five others were wounded, according to Palestine Chronicle.
More than 28,000 Palestinians have been killed by the state of Israel since the beginning of the war according to Gazan officials. Another 68,000 have been wounded.
Shane Devine is a writer covering politics, economics, and culture for Valuetainment. Follow Shane on X (Twitter).