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David Cameron 'concerned' after Israeli strikes kill 44 in southern Gaza city of Rafa ahead of expected ground invasion
10 February 2024, 21:10 | Updated: 11 February 2024, 07:38
Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron has said he is "deeply concerned" after Israeli air strikes in Rafah which precede an expected ground invasion of the city.
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The Foreign Secretary wrote on X: "Deeply concerned about the prospect of a military offensive in Rafah - over half of Gaza's population are sheltering in the area.
"The priority must be an immediate pause in the fighting to get aid in and hostages out, then progress towards a sustainable, permanent ceasefire."
More than a dozen children were reported to be among at least 44 people killed in air strikes in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.
Deeply concerned about the prospect of a military offensive in Rafah – over half of Gaza’s population are sheltering in the area.— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) February 10, 2024
The priority must be an immediate pause in the fighting to get aid in and hostages out, then progress towards a sustainable, permanent ceasefire.
Israel says that it has killed two Hamas operatives there using the strikes.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has signalled a ground invasion in the city - where hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians are sheltering after fleeing the initial assault on northern Gaza.
Yestrerday, Netanyahu ordered Israel's military to prepare for evacuating Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip ahead of an expected invasion.
Mr Netanyahu said he has created a dual plan to evacuate people from the city of Rafah and to defeat the remaining Hamas forces.
Rafah is the last neighbourhood, where more than half of the territory’s 2.3 million people have sought refuge.
A statement from the prime minister's office said on Friday: "It is impossible to achieve the war objective of eliminating Hamas and leaving four Hamas battalions in Rafah.
"On the other hand, it is clear that a massive operation in Rafah requires the evacuation of the civilian population from the combat zones."
The latest intervention by the former Prime Minister which has signalled troubles with the way Israel is conducting its war with Hamas.
He has previously called for a ceasefire as he pushed Benjamin Netanyahu on the need for a two-state solution.
The Foreign Secretary said in January that the people in Gaza were enduring "unimaginable" suffering, three and a half months into a war that has seen more than 25,000 die.
Speaking after a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu Jerusalem, Lord Cameron called for "an immediate humanitarian pause" to allow more aid to come in and more hostages to get out.
He said that Israel should open more crossing points into Gaza to allow aid into the territory.
The pause in hostilities must be followed "a sustainable ceasefire" with no more fighting after that, the Foreign Secretary said. Lord Cameron also called for the protection of medics and hospitals during the war.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he opposes the creation of a Palestinian state, which goes against the policies of allies like the US and the UK.
In a statement, Lord Cameron said: "The scale of suffering in Gaza is unimaginable. More must be done, faster, to help people trapped in this desperate situation.
"As I said to PM Netanyahu yesterday, far more trucks need to be able to enter Gaza and more crossings need to open.
"We need an immediate humanitarian pause to get aid in and hostages out, followed by a sustainable ceasefire, without a return to hostilities."