i24 News – Medics reported that Israeli airstrikes overnight in Gaza’s Rafah claimed the lives of 17 individuals on Saturday.
The attacks come as tensions escalate, with over a million Palestinians densely packed into the border city, awaiting a potential full-scale offensive amid widespread destruction across the enclave and limited avenues of escape.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced plans for military action, aiming to evacuate Rafah’s population and dismantle four Hamas battalions allegedly stationed in the area.
As IDF prepares for an intense ground operation in Rafah, its efforts to create safe corridors for Palestinian civilians are made more difficult by the fighting ongoing throughout Gaza. @mcauliffe_marym joins @Nicole_Zedek with the latest updates: pic.twitter.com/83PJfNMEdd
— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) February 10, 2024
Unlike previous conflicts where civilians were urged to seek refuge in southern Gaza, the current situation presents a dilemma as there are no relatively unscathed areas left, leaving residents with nowhere to flee. Aid agencies have warned of the potential for a significant loss of civilian lives should an assault on Rafah occur.
Reports from Gaza City indicate intensified fighting on Saturday, with residents reporting clashes amid the ongoing hostilities.
An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity to Reuters, disclosed plans to coordinate the relocation of Rafah residents northward in anticipation of potential military action. However, Egypt has stated its refusal to permit mass displacement of Palestinians into its territory,.
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Numerous Weapons Discovered in UNRWA Premises in Gaza
i24 News – The IDF revealed that it had discovered, in the areas of Shati and Tel al-Hawa in northern Gaza, twenty terrorist infrastructure sites including a tunnel entrance near an UNRWA school. The tunnel, an “important part of Hamas’ military intelligence services,” passed under the building which serves as the main headquarters of UNRWA in the Gaza Strip.
Large quantities of weapons were found in rooms of the building, including rifles, ammunition, grenades and explosives. Intelligence and documents discovered in the offices of UNRWA officials confirmed that these offices had also been used by Hamas terrorists, the military claims.
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Qatar Says Hamas ‘Promises’ Hostages Received Medicines, But Offers no proof
i24 News – In a recent development, Qatar has informed both Israel and France that Hamas has purportedly agreed to ensure that hostages receive the essential medicines delivered to them in the Gaza Strip.
Last month, Qatar facilitated the transfer of these crucial drugs to Gaza following a comprehensive list compiled with input from the hostages’ respective doctors. The medications in question are deemed “vital,” primarily aimed at addressing chronic illnesses among the hostages.
This development comes amidst ongoing efforts to address the welfare and medical needs of the hostages held in Gaza, with international stakeholders closely monitoring the situation for further updates.
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Iran Foreign Minister Says Iran, U.S. Have Exchanged Messages in Recent Weeks
Iran and the United States have exchanged messages throughout Israel’s four-month-old war to destroy Hamas in Gaza, including about Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, the Iranian foreign minister said on Saturday.
“During this war and in the recent weeks, there was an exchange of messages between Iran and America,” Hossein Amirabdollahian said through a translator at a press conference capping a day-long visit to Beirut.
He said the United States had asked Tehran to request Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran, “not to get widely, fully involved in this war against” Israel.
Hezbollah has exchanged near-daily fire with the Israeli military along the Lebanese-Israeli frontier to support its Palestinian ally Hamas, and has vowed to “fight to the end” should Israel launch a full-scare war on Lebanon.
Israel launched a war it says aims to destroy Hamas after the Islamist group staged a deadly cross-border invasion on southern Israel on Oct. 7.
The conflict has rippled across the region and earlier this month Washington staged strikes against Iran-aligned groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen in retaliation for a deadly attack on U.S. troops in Jordan.
Amirabdollahian on Saturday warned Israel against taking any steps towards a broader war against Lebanon, saying that would be Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “last day.”
He also said Iran saw a political solution as the only way to end the Gaza war.
“Iran and Lebanon confirm that war is not the solution, and that we absolutely never sought to expand it,” Amirabdollahian told a news conference earlier on Saturday alongside his Lebanese counterpart, Abdallah Bou Habib.
He also said Tehran was in talks with Saudi Arabia on a political solution to hostilities in Gaza.
Hamas this week proposed a ceasefire of 4-1/2 months, during which remaining hostages held by Hamas would go free, Israel would withdraw its troops from Gaza and agreement would be reached on an end to the war.
Netanyahu called the Hamas terms “delusional” and vowed to fight on. But Amirabdollahian said Hamas was presenting ideas based on a “realistic view,” and that they should be widely backed in order to end the war.
Amirabdollahian met on Saturday with Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister, foreign minister, speaker of parliament and Hezbollah head Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah
Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television outlet said the foreign minister and Nasrallah reviewed the latest developments in Gaza and southern Lebanon, including “the near future of the situation in Lebanon.”
Amirabdollahian is set to travel on to Syria, according to Syrian media, and will meet top officials there.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps have suffered one of their most bruising spells in Syria since arriving a decade ago to aid President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war.
Since December, Israeli strikes have killed more than half a dozen of their members, among them one of the Guards’ top intelligence generals.
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