In response to the Israeli ground offensive in Rafah, the last refuge for Palestinians displaced by war, Hamas warned of severe consequences. The Islamic extremist movement stated that tens of thousands of people could be killed or injured in the city. Witnesses reported bombings in the surrounding areas of Rafah as Israeli forces raided Al Amal hospital and engaged in intense fighting at Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis.
The conflict began when Islamist militants killed more than 1,160 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapped about 250 in southern Israel. In response, Israel vowed to “annihilate” Hamas and launched a relentless campaign of bombing and ground operations against Gaza, resulting in the death of mainly women, children, and adolescents.
On the diplomatic front, a “new cycle of negotiations” began in Cairo with the aim of obtaining greater access to humanitarian aid to Gaza and an exchange of hostages held by Hamas by Palestinian prisoners in Israel. The war in Gaza also exacerbated tensions in other countries such as Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen where Iranian-backed groups have launched attacks in support of Hamas prompting retaliation from Israel and the United States and its allies.