Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the operational situation at the IDF's Southern Command HQ on Sunday
Deadly Toll: Gaza's Health Ministry Reports Over 100 Casualties in Rafah
The Health Ministry of Hamas, the governing authority in the Gaza Strip since 2007, has reported a significantly higher death toll from the Israeli military's overnight operation in Rafah, a town located in the southern part of the enclave. Initial estimates pegged the casualties at around 40, which were later revised to over 50, but in a recent statement, the ministry has now corrected the figure to approximately 100 lives lost.
This drastic escalation in casualties underscores the severity of the military engagement that unfolded in Rafah during the late hours, resulting in a devastating loss of life. The operation, which ostensibly aimed to secure the release of two hostages held captive in the area, has sparked widespread condemnation and raised grave concerns about the intensification of violence in the region.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's directive to prepare for an offensive on Rafah had set the stage for a potentially catastrophic confrontation, prompting warnings from Hamas that such actions would jeopardize any ongoing negotiations for the release of remaining hostages. Despite these warnings, Israel proceeded with its operation, asserting that the strikes were part of a rescue mission targeting the abducted individuals.
The two individuals freed from captivity, identified as 60-year-old Fernando Simon Marman and 70-year-old Norberto Louis Har, had been abducted from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on October 7. Following their rescue, they were promptly transported to Ramat Gan Medical Center for medical evaluation and care, underlining the physical and emotional toll of their harrowing ordeal.
In the aftermath of the operation, the Israeli military confirmed the deaths of three militants in the building where the hostages were held, underscoring the volatile and high-stakes nature of the confrontation. Additionally, a series of airstrikes were conducted targeting alleged terrorist targets in the southern Gaza Strip, resulting in significant structural damage, with reports indicating that 14 houses were impacted by the bombardment.
The conflicting narratives surrounding the operation, coupled with the alarming increase in casualties, have reignited concerns about the escalation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas, further destabilizing an already volatile region.
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