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Egypt warns of 'catastrophic consequences' from Israel ground attack on Rafah

April 24, 2024 at 8:49 pm

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the Ittihadiye Palace in Cairo, Egypt on February 14, 2024 [Utku Ucrak/Anadolu via Getty Images]

Egyptian President, Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, warned Wednesday of “catastrophic consequences” from any Israeli ground attack in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Anadolu Agency reports.

The warning came during a phone call between Sisi and Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, during which they discussed the situation in Gaza and bilateral relations between the two countries, Egyptian sources said in a statement.

The discussions also dwelt on Egypt’s efforts to reach a ceasefire in Gaza and allow access to humanitarian aid to the enclave to help restore regional stability, the statement said.

The Egyptian leader warned against any military operation in Rafah due to “its catastrophic repercussions on the humanitarian situation in Gaza and on regional peace and security,” it added.

According to the statement, Sisi and Rutte agreed on the urgency of reaching a ceasefire in Gaza and ensuring the flow of adequate amounts of humanitarian aid to the Strip to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe there.

READ: Israel gears up for Rafah civilian evacuation ahead of promised assault

On Tuesday, the head of Egypt’s State Information Service, Diaa Rashwan, denied a report by the Wall Street Journal that Cairo had discussed with Israel its plans to invade Rafah.

Rashwan reiterated Egypt’s opposition to any Israeli ground attack in Rafah, warning that it would lead to significant human casualties and widespread destruction.

He stressed that Egypt has repeatedly warned Israel through various channels against carrying out any ground offensive in Rafah.

Despite international warnings about a planned Israeli invasion of Rafah, the Israeli army insists on going ahead with attacking the tiny city, which is home to nearly 1.4 million displaced Palestinians.

Last week, an Israeli government spokesperson said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set a date for invading Rafah, the last remaining area in Gaza where Israel has not yet formally announced the entry of its troops to continue the onslaught against the Palestinians.

Israel has waged a brutal offensive on the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group, Hamas, on 7 October last year, which Tel Aviv says killed nearly 1,200 people.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

At least 34,262 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and 77,200 others injured, according to local health authorities.

More than six months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins, pushing 85 per cent of the enclave’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which, in January, issued an interim ruling that ordered it to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

READ: Top officials visit Egypt to discuss Rafah ground offensive, Israel media claims