Belgium 'extremely concerned' about displaced civilians in Rafah

Belgian Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib is "extremely concerned" about the situation in Rafah, in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli army bombarded the city early on Saturday morning, with more than a million displaced Palestinians there.

"We heard this morning that the Israeli army would advance on the border with Egypt in Rafah, where almost 1.2 million Palestinians have been displaced. We are extremely concerned and call for respect for civilians," Lahbib said at the start of an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

According to Lahbib, of francophone liberal party MR, the attacks are at odds with humanitarian law if they happened in a place where more than a million displaced people are located.

The High Representative of European Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, referred to the crisis as "a catastrophic situation".

Shortly after midnight, a journalist from the French news agency AFP heard heavy attacks on the city in the southern Gaza Strip. Hamas' health ministry later said that at least 14 people were killed in the attacks on two buildings in eastern Rafah.

In recent weeks, the focus of the Israeli army has been mainly on the more northern city of Khan Younis, where, according to Israel, the local Hamas leadership is hiding. Thousands of residents fled to Rafah.



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