China asks Israel to halt Rafah military operation to avoid humanitarian disaster

China has called on Israel to stop its military operation in the south Gazan city of Rafah “as soon as possible”, to prevent “serious humanitarian disaster”.

“China follows closely the developments in the Rafah area, opposes and condemns actions that harm civilians and violate international law”, a foreign ministry spokesperson said.

Beijing urged Israel to “to stop its military operation as soon as possible, and make every effort to avoid innocent civilian casualties, in order to prevent a more serious humanitarian disaster in the Rafah area”.

Israel is facing growing international pressure to agree to a ceasefire with Hamas as it prepares for an incursion into Rafah, the southern Gaza border city where more than a million displaced Palestinians are trapped.

Israel conducted a predawn raid in Rafah on Monday that freed two hostages and killed around 100 people, after rejecting Hamas’s terms for a truce last week.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the overnight operation as “perfect”, while the Palestinian foreign ministry said the deaths of dozens of Gazans amounted to a “massacre”.

The rare rescue mission under heavy air strikes came hours after Netanyahu spoke with US President Joe Biden, who reiterated his opposition to a major assault on Rafah.

The United Nations has also warned Israel against carrying out a ground offensive into Rafah without a plan to protect civilians, who say they have nowhere left to go.

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