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Israel intensifies Rafah attacks, defying Court of Justice ruling

by editor

Israel intensified attacks on Rafah on Saturday in defiance of an International Court of Justice ruling ordering an end to the assault on the city in the south of the Gaza Strip.

Israel carried out strikes throughout the Gaza Strip on Saturday morning as fighting raged between the Israeli army and the Hamas militant group, according to media reports. AFP reported Israeli strikes or shelling in Rafah, the central city of Deir al-Balah, Gaza City, Jabalia refugee camp and elsewhere.

The ICJ, the United Nations’ top court, ruled on Friday that Israel must “immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah governorate, which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” The case was brought by South Africa.

Israeli officials were quick to condemn the ruling and indicated they would not comply. The Foreign Ministry described South Africa’s charges of genocide, which led to the ICJ ruling, as “false, outrageous and morally repugnant.”

The ICJ’s ruling is legally binding but the court has no enforcement powers of its own.

Officials from the EU have urged Israel to comply. “ICJ orders are binding on the parties and they have to be fully and effectively implemented,” Josep Borrell, the EU’s top foreign affairs official, said in a post on X.

Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares also demanded an end to the assault on Rafah. “Also the cease-fire, the release of the hostages and humanitarian access. The suffering of Gazans and the violence must end,” he said on X.

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