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Israel's offensive in Rafah has not crossed red lines, US says

Palestinians fleeing from the southern Gaza city of Rafah during an Israeli ground and air offensive in the city on Tuesday, May 28, 2024.
Palestinians fleeing from the southern Gaza city of Rafah during an Israeli ground and air offensive in the city on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Copyright AP
Copyright AP
By Euronews with AP
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All the latest developments from the Israel-Hamas war.


Israeli shelling and airstrikes killed at least 37 people, most of them sheltering in tents, outside the southern Gaza city of Rafah overnight on Tuesday. The attacks targeted the same area where strikes triggered a deadly fire days earlier in a camp for displaced Palestinians, according to witnesses, emergency workers and hospital officials.

The fire at the tent camp has drawn widespread international outrage, including from some of Israel’s closest allies.

The Israeli military suggested Sunday's blaze in the tent camp may have been caused by secondary explosions, possibly from Palestinian militants' weapons. The results of Israel's initial probe into the fire were issued on Tuesday. Military spokesman Daniel Hagari said the cause of the fire was still under investigation but that the Israeli munitions used were too small to be the source.

Israel's assault on Rafah, launched May 6, prompted more than 1 million people to flee the city, the UN agency helping Palestinian refugees said on Tuesday. Most were already displaced multiple times in the nearly eight-month war between Israel and Hamas. Families are now scattered across makeshift tent camps and other war-ravaged areas.

The strikes over the past few days have hit areas west of Rafah, where the military had not ordered civilians to evacuate. Israeli ground troops and tanks have been operating in eastern Rafah, in central parts of the city, and along the Gaza-Egypt border.

US says Israel's Rafah offensivedoesn't cross 'red lines'

The United States and other allies of Israel have warned against a full-fledged offensive in the city. Yet, on Tuesday, US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller gave no indication the administration sees Israel as crossing any of the red lines for Rafah, saying the offensive is still on a “far different” scale than assaults on other population centres in Gaza.

National security spokesman John Kirby told reporters that Israel had not violated President Joe Biden's “red line” for withholding future offensive arms transfers because it has not launched a full-scale ground invasion into the city in southern Gaza.

“Everything that we can see tells us that they are not moving into a major ground operation in population centres in the centre of Rafah," Kirby said. 

France could recognise Palestine state at 'useful moment'

French President Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed that recognising a Palestinian state is not a “taboo” for France. However, he said the decision must be made “at a useful moment” and shouldn’t be an “emotional” reaction to what happened in Rafah.

Macron on Monday said on X he was “outraged by the Israeli strikes that have killed many displaced persons in Rafah.”

“These operations must stop. There are no safe areas in Rafah for Palestinian civilians. I call for full respect for international law and an immediate ceasefire,” he added.

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