RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) 性视界传媒 A series of Israeli strikes early Monday hit Rafah, the city on the southern edge of the Gaza Strip where 1.4 million Palestinians have fled to escape fighting elsewhere in the four-month Israel-Hamas war.

Israel has been signaling its ground offensive in Gaza may soon target the densely populated city on the Egyptian border. On Sunday, the White House said President Joe Biden had warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel should not conduct a military operation against Hamas in Rafah without a 性视界传媒渃redible and executable性视界传媒 plan to protect civilians.

The strikes hit around Kuwait Hospital early Monday morning, an Associated Press journalist in Rafah said. Some of those wounded in the strikes had been brought to the hospital.

The Israeli military said it struck 性视界传媒渢error targets in the area of Shaboura性视界传媒 性视界传媒 which is a district in Rafah. The military statement said the series of strikes had concluded, without elaborating on the targets or assessing the potential damage or casualties.

Palestinian health officials did not immediately offer any casualty information.

Biden's remarks were his most forceful language yet on the possible operation. Biden, who last week called Israel性视界传媒檚 military response in Gaza also sought 性视界传媒渦rgent and specific性视界传媒 steps to strengthen humanitarian aid. Israel性视界传媒檚 Channel 13 television said the conversation lasted 45 minutes.

Discussion of the potential for a cease-fire agreement took up much of the call, a senior U.S. administration official said, and after weeks of diplomacy, a 性视界传媒渇ramework" is now 性视界传媒減retty much性视界传媒 in place for a deal that could see the release of remaining hostages held by Hamas in exchange for a halt to fighting.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss negotiations, acknowledged that 性视界传媒済aps remain,性视界传媒 but declined to give details. The official said military pressure on Hamas in the southern city of Khan Younis in recent weeks helped bring the group closer to accepting a deal.

Netanyahu's office declined to comment on the call. Hamas性视界传媒 Al-Aqsa television station earlier quoted an unnamed Hamas official as saying any invasion of Rafah would 性视界传媒渂low up性视界传媒 the .

Biden and Netanyahu spoke after two Egyptian officials and a Western diplomat said Egypt threatened to suspend its peace treaty with Israel if troops are sent into Rafah, where Egypt fears fighting could push Palestinians into the Sinai Peninsula and force the closure of Gaza's main aid supply route.

The threat to suspend the Camp David Accords, a cornerstone of regional stability for nearly a half-century, came after Netanyahu said sending troops into Rafah was necessary to win the against Hamas. He asserted that Hamas has four battalions there.

Over half of Gaza's population of 2.3 million have fled to Rafah to escape fighting in other areas, and they are packed into tent camps and U.N.-run shelters. Egypt fears a mass influx of Palestinian refugees .

Netanyahu told 性视界传媒淔ox News Sunday性视界传媒 that there性视界传媒檚 性视界传媒減lenty of room north of Rafah for them to go to性视界传媒 after Israel性视界传媒檚 offensive elsewhere in Gaza, and said Israel would direct evacuees with 性视界传媒渇lyers, with cellphones and with safe corridors and other things.性视界传媒 But the offensive has caused , with little capacity to take in people.

The standoff between Israel and Egypt, two close U.S. allies, took shape as aid groups warned that an offensive in Rafah would worsen the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza. Around 80% of residents have fled their homes, and the U.N. says .

A ground operation in Rafah could cut off one of the only avenues for delivering . Forty-four trucks of aid entered Gaza on Sunday, said Wael Abu Omar, a spokesman for the Palestinian Crossings Authority. About 500 entered daily before the war.

WHERE WOULD CIVILIANS GO?

Sign Up for Newsletters
Select Newsletters to Sign Up For

Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters on the sensitive negotiations. Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other countries have also warned of if Israel goes into Rafah.

性视界传媒淎n Israeli offensive on Rafah would lead to an unspeakable humanitarian catastrophe and grave tensions with Egypt,性视界传媒 European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell wrote on X. Human Rights Watch said forced displacement is a war crime.

Israel and Egypt fought five wars before signing the Camp David Accords, brokered by the U.S., in the late 1970s. The agreement includes provisions governing the deployment of forces on both sides of the heavily fortified border.

Egyptian officials fear that if the border is breached, the military would be unable to stop a tide of people fleeing into the Sinai Peninsula.

The United Nations says Rafah, normally home to fewer than 300,000 people, now hosts more and is 性视界传媒渟everely overcrowded.性视界传媒

Inside Rafah, some displaced people packed up again. Rafat and Fedaa Abu Haloub, who fled Beit Lahia in the north earlier in the war, placed their belongings onto a truck. 性视界传媒淲e don性视界传媒檛 know where we can safely take him,性视界传媒 Fedaa said of their baby. 性视界传媒淓very month we have to move.性视界传媒

Om Mohammad Al-Ghemry, displaced from Nuseirat, said she hoped Egypt would not allow Israel to force Palestinians to flee into the Sinai 性视界传媒渂ecause we do not want to leave.性视界传媒

112 BODIES TAKEN TO GAZA HOSPITALS IN A DAY

Heavy fighting continues in central Gaza and Khan Younis.

said Sunday that the bodies of 112 people killed across the territory had been brought to hospitals in the past 24 hours. The death toll is 28,176 since the start of the war. The ministry does not distinguish between civilians and fighters but says most of those killed were women and children.

The war began with , when Palestinian militants killed some 1,200 people and abducted around 250. Over 100 hostages were released during a cease-fire in November.

Hamas won't release more unless Israel ends its offensive and withdraws from Gaza. Netanyahu has ruled out both demands.


Magdy reported from Cairo. Associated Press writer Colleen Long in Washington contributed to this report.


Find more of AP性视界传媒檚 coverage at

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.