Truce talks open in Cairo as Gazans brace for Israeli assault on Rafah

Juliette Touma, a spokesperson for the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, said it had not been informed of any Israeli evacuation plan for Rafah and was not part of it.

“Where are you going to evacuate people to as no place is safe across the Gaza Strip, the north is shattered, riddled with unexploded weapons, it’s pretty much unlivable,” she said, adding that UNRWA would not participate in a forced evacuation.

“Enough is enough. Any further escalation would be absolutely apocalyptic.”

On Monday, US President Joe Biden said Washington was working on a hostage deal to bring “immediate and sustained” calm to Gaza for at least six weeks.

He has urged Israel not to undertake a ground offensive in Rafah without a plan to protect civilians.

In the latest bloodshed, Israel’s military said its forces had killed dozens of Palestinian fighters in clashes in southern and central Gaza over the last 24 hours.

Gaza health officials said an Israeli strike on a house in the Nusseirat refugee camp in central Gaza killed 16 Palestinians overnight.

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