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US Allies Warn Israel Against ‘Catastrophic’ Rafah Operation

The leaders of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand on Thursday warned Israel against a potentially “catastrophic” ground offensive in the southern Gazan city of Rafah, amplifying a growing chorus of international concern.

Urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “not to go down this path,” the trio of Commonwealth nations issued a rare joint statement expressing deep and growing worry about Israel’s prosecution of the months-long war.

“About 1.5 million Palestinians are taking refuge in the area, including many of our citizens and their families,” the group of US allies said.

“An expanded military operation would be devastating. We urge the Israeli government not to go down this path. There is simply nowhere else for civilians to go.”

In the face of mounting international pressure and a death toll that Gaza authorities say has now topped 28,000, Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead.

He has promised Israeli forces will soon conduct a “powerful” operation in Rafah – a city filled with countless Gazans displaced by fighting elsewhere in the territory.

Israel believes that Hamas operatives responsible for the October 7 attacks that killed around 1,160 people in Israel are holed up in the area, along with some of an estimated 130 hostages seized by the Palestinian Islamist group.

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