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Israel Hamas war: South Africa urges UN court intervention over Rafah, hostage operation, Gaza deal

Israeli soldiers drive an tanks on the border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024.
Israeli soldiers drive an tanks on the border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024. Copyright Ariel Schalit/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Ariel Schalit/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with AP
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All the latest developments from the Israel Hamas war.

South Africa asks UN court to consider Israel's Rafah offensive

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South Africa's government has asked the UN court to consider the country's offensive in Rafah a breach of its provisional order.

Last month, the country brought Israel in front of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague over allegations of genocide in Gaza.

While the UN court didn't order Israel to immediately stop its operations in Gaza, as South Africa demanded, the court handed down a preliminary ruling issuing six orders, including asking Israel to do all it can to prevent the deaths of Palestinian civilians and the destruction of Gaza.

The "urgent request" filed by South Africa asks the ICJ to determine whether Israel’s indication that it would launch a ground offensive in Rafah - where 1.4 million Palestinians have fled to escape fighting - represents a “further imminent breach of the rights of Palestinians in Gaza.”

Death toll from Israel’s hostage rescue operation climbs

The Palestinian death toll from Israel’s hostage rescue operation in Rafah on Monday rose to 74 on Tuesday, according to officials in the besieged enclave.

The day before, officials had estimated that 67 people had died in the operation which rescued two Israeli hostages kidnapped by Hamas’ militants on October 7. 

They were Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70. 

Both were found on the second floor of a building in Rafah, said Israeli Defense Forces spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari. 

Israel’s recent announcement of incoming attacks in Rafah sparked renewed criticism against the country’s ground invasion of Gaza. 

US President Joe Biden has called for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ensure the safety of civilians in the area, amid stark warnings that Palestinians have nowhere else to go.

On Tuesday, Germany's foreign minister Annalena Baerbock received Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki in Berlin, a day before she is due to set off for her fifth trip to Israel since October 7. 

Baerbock called for the creation of "safe corridors" for civilians in Rafah.

‘Key elements’ of a Gaza deal on the table, Biden says

The US president said that “key elements” of a deal for Gaza were “on the table” during his meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Monday at the White House, though he admitted that there were “gaps that remain.”

The two leaders were expected to discuss how to end the months-long war in Gaza and what would come afterward.

The meeting comes at a time when Biden is also trying to broker a new ceasefire in Gaza which will allow for humanitarian aid and supplies to reach the region and get Israeli hostages out.

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Al-Jazeera journalists wounded in airstrike, company says

Al-Jazeera said that two of its journalists in Gaza had been wounded in an Israeli strike near Rafah, with one having to undergo an amputation. 

The pan-Arab network, funded by Qatar, quoted Dr. Muhammad al-Astal at the European Hospital in Khan Younis as saying that journalist Abu Omar had his right foot amputated.

He suffered severe wounds, including shrapnel to his chest and head. 

The channel said doctors were trying to stop the bleeding and save his left leg.

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The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

Israel and Hamas making progress on ceasefire - Egyptian official

A senior Egyptian official said mediators have achieved what he described as “relatively significant” progress in the negotiations between Israel and Hamas. 

His comments came ahead of a scheduled meeting in Cairo on Tuesday of representatives from Qatar, the US and Israel.

The Egyptian official said the meeting would focus on “crafting a final draft” of a six-week cease-fire deal, with guarantees that the parties would continue negotiations toward a permanent cease-fire.

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A Western diplomat in the Egyptian capital also said a six-week deal was on the table but cautioned that more work is still needed to reach an agreement.

He said the meeting on Tuesday would be crucial in bridging the remaining gaps to get the two sides to agree on a six-week truce and embark on talks for a final ceasefire deal.

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