Palestinians leave Rafah, in fear of an Israeli military operation Palestinians leave Rafah, in fear of an Israeli military operation 

International pressure grows for ceasefire in Gaza

The Director of the CIA is due in Egypt for discussions on a Qatari-brokered ceasefire plan to halt fighting in Gaza in exchange for Hamas freeing Israeli captives.

By Nathan Morley

Discussions are set to take place in Cairo between the head of the CIA, William Burns; his Egyptian counterpart; and Qatar’s Prime Minister.

The gathering comes as international pressure grows for a ceasefire in Gaza. Israel has been preparing to launch a ground offensive against Hamas in Rafah, where more than a million people are taking shelter.

Listen to Nathan Morley's report

International calls to protect civilians

A spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in London, Orly Goldschmidt, said the military was not targeting civilians. ‘We don’t want to hurt civilians, we have never been at war with the Palestinian people,’ Goldschmidt told BBC radio.

Earlier, the US President Joe Biden insisted that Rafah must be protected. He said Israel must make credible efforts to shield those seeking shelter in the city.

‘Many people there have been displaced, displaced multiple times, fleeing the violence to the north and now they're packed into Rafah, exposed and vulnerable,’ Biden said.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Cameron has urged Israel to ‘think seriously’ before embarking on any campaign in Rafah.

Food supplies stopped

In a separate development, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) says that essential food supplies for the Gaza Strip are being stopped from entering the enclave by Israeli authorities.

‘Vital supplies to address food insecurity continue to be blocked due to lack of Israeli authorities' approvals to transfer flour from the Israeli port of Ashdod to the Gaza Strip,’ UNRWA said in a statement.

Medical officials in Gaza say 28,340 Palestinians have been killed since this conflict erupted on 7 October 2023.

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13 February 2024, 17:27