Dozens killed in Rafah hostage rescue

An Israeli military operation in Rafah has freed two hostages, while 67 Palestinians were killed in accompanying air strikes, according to Gaza health officials, as global figures urge against a ground invasion of the southern city.

What we know:

  • A rescue operation in Rafah overnight freed two Israeli hostages held by Hamas, military officials said (The Guardian);
  • According to Gaza health officials, air strikes launched by Israel to coincide with the operation killed 67 people in Rafah, which is providing refuge to more than a million Palestinians displaced by the war (AP News);
  • The freed hostages were taken to a hospital in central Israel and were said to be in “good condition”;
  • Israel has been urged against conducting a ground military offensive in Rafah, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese expressing “very deep concerns” about an attack and Foreign Minister Penny Wong warning of potentially “devastating consequences” (Canberra Times);
  • Albanese said on Monday that Israel has a “responsibility as a democratic nation to show care in relation to these innocent civilians”;
  • European Union chief diplomat Josep Borrell hinted that the US should stop sending arms to Israel in response to a potential Rafah invasion, saying “if you believe that too many people are being killed maybe you should provide less arms in order to prevent so many people being killed” (Reuters);
  • In a call on Monday, US President Joe Biden warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to not launch a military operation in Rafah without a “credible and executable” plan to protect civilians in the area.