Egypt Warns about Regional Repercussions of Israeli Military Operations in Rafah

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell hold talks in the Belgian capital, Brussels (Egyptian Foreign Ministry)
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell hold talks in the Belgian capital, Brussels (Egyptian Foreign Ministry)
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Egypt Warns about Regional Repercussions of Israeli Military Operations in Rafah

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell hold talks in the Belgian capital, Brussels (Egyptian Foreign Ministry)
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell hold talks in the Belgian capital, Brussels (Egyptian Foreign Ministry)

Egypt on Sunday reiterated its concerns about the devastating humanitarian impact of the Israeli military operations in Rafah on over 1.4 million Palestinians and the broader implications for regional peace and stability.

Cairo, therefore, called on Israel to fulfil its responsibilities as the occupying power by removing barriers to aid entry by opening all land crossings between Israel and Gaza and ensuring secure conditions for international relief efforts in Gaza.

The Egyptian warnings came during a meeting held Sunday between Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell in the Belgian capital, Brussels, to discuss the escalating crisis in Gaza.

On Sunday, the Israeli army continued its bombardment of Gaza and Rafah despite an order from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) last Friday to immediately halt Israel’s operations in this southern Gaza Strip town.

The UN's top court based in the Dutch city of The Hague also ordered Israel to “maintain the Rafah crossing open for humanitarian assistance.” The crossing has been closed since the Israeli army launched its ground assault on the city early this month.

During their meeting in Brussels, Shoukry and Borrell stressed the urgent need for a ceasefire in Gaza as well as a cessation of the Israeli military operations in the Palestinian city of Rafah, according to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid.

They also emphasized the importance of ensuring unhindered and safe access to humanitarian aid and relief supplies throughout Gaza to address the urgent needs of its residents.

Egypt's top diplomat and the EU official then asserted the necessity for Israel to protect and respect humanitarian workers and refrain from targeting the facilities of international relief agencies.

Both sides further stressed that Israel should facilitate the movement of relief teams in the Gaza Strip per international humanitarian law.

Shoukry and Borrell discussed the dire humanitarian, security, and political aspects of the crisis in the Gaza Strip, Abu Zeid said.

Furthermore, they explored ways to mitigate the consequences of the crisis in Gaza and advance a political path to implement the two-state solution, thus resolving the crisis comprehensively, according to the FM’s spokesperson.

Shoukry then highlighted the crucial role sought from influential international parties, including the European Union, in supporting the ongoing efforts to halt the Israeli war on Gaza and prevent further loss of Palestinian lives.

The Minister expressed his appreciation for the significant efforts of the EU top official in alleviating the humanitarian crisis and its repercussions.

He also reiterated concerns about the devastating humanitarian impact of the Israeli military operations in Rafah and called on Israel to fulfil its responsibilities as the occupying power by removing barriers to aid entry by opening all land crossings between Israel and Gaza and ensuring secure conditions for international relief efforts in Gaza.

Last week, Egypt's state-run Al-Qahera News channel quoted a high-level Egyptian source as denying Israeli media reports saying Cairo and Tel Aviv are coordinating on Israel’s military operation in the Palestinian Rafah city.

The source stressed that “Egypt had warned Israel of the repercussions of escalation in the Gaza Strip, and refused any coordination with Tel Aviv on the Rafah crossing.”

In this regard, Shoukry on Sunday said: “Egypt rejects Israel's insistence on controlling all of Gaza's crossings as a tool to tighten the siege and starve the Palestinian people in Gaza, creating an uninhabitable reality in the strip.”

He also affirmed Egypt's categorical rejection of any attempts to displace Palestinians from their lands or liquidate the Palestinian cause.



Israeli Tanks at Edge of Rafah's Mawasi Refuge Zone

A man walks across  fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024.  (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
A man walks across fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
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Israeli Tanks at Edge of Rafah's Mawasi Refuge Zone

A man walks across  fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024.  (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
A man walks across fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)

Israeli tanks advanced to the edge of the Mawasi displaced persons' camp in the northwest of the southern Gaza city of Rafah on Sunday in fierce fighting with Hamas-led fighters, residents said.
Images of two Israeli tanks stationed on a hilltop overlooking the coastal area went viral on social media, but Reuters could not independently verify them.

"The fighting with the resistance has been intense. The occupation forces are overlooking the Mawasi area now, which forced families there to head for Khan Younis," said one resident, who asked not to be named, on a chat app.

More than eight months into Israel's war in the Hamas-administered Palestinian enclave, its advance is focused on the two areas its forces have yet to seize: Rafah on Gaza's southern tip and the area surrounding Deir al-Balah in the center.

Residents said Israeli tanks had pushed deeper into western and northern Rafah in recent days, blowing up dozens of houses.

The Israeli military said it was continuing "intelligence-based, targeted operations" in the Rafah area and had located weapons stores and tunnel shafts, and killed Palestinian gunmen.

The armed wings of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad movement said their fighters had attacked Israeli forces in Rafah with anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs and pre-planted explosive devices.

Elsewhere, an Israeli airstrike killed eight Palestinians in Sabra, a suburb of Gaza City in the north, and another strike killed two people in Nuseirat in central Gaza.

The military said it had struck dozens of targets throughout the Strip.

On Saturday, Palestinian health officials said at least 40 Palestinians had been killed in separate Israeli strikes in some northern Gaza districts, where the Israeli army said it had attacked Hamas's military infrastructure. Hamas said the targets were the civilian population.

In Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, health officials at Kamal Adwan Hospital said a baby had died of malnutrition, taking the number of children dead of malnutrition or dehydration since Oct. 7 to at least 30, a number that health officials say reflects under-recording.