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Pressure grows on Israel to prevent large-scale invasion of Rafah

International pressure is growing against Israel after the country's forces seized the Palestinian side of a Rafah crossing and refused to rule out a full-scale invasion of the southern Gaza city.

The Biden administration's long-standing support for Israel has come under scrutiny as the humanitarian crisis in Gaza worsens, with senior US officials expressing increasing concern about a potential large-scale military operation in Rafah, where more than one million Palestinians are sheltered.

CIA Director Bill Burns returned to Cairo on Tuesday for further talks, a source familiar with the meetings told Reuters. CNN while the US and other mediators seek a ceasefire and hostage release agreement.

World Health Organization regional director Hanan Balkhy warned of the consequences of the Israeli military operation, writing on his X profile that it put the lives of 1.5 million people “in grave danger.”

She added that humanitarian groups were “committed to staying and delivering” aid and called for the Rafah border crossing to be “urgently reopened.”

Earlier, UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, said closing the crossing could paralyze humanitarian efforts across the Gaza Strip. Egypt's Foreign Ministry condemned Israel for taking control of the Palestinian side of the crossing, calling the action a “dangerous escalation.”

UN chief António Guterres called on Israel and Hamas to reach an agreement to end the bloodshed, while European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell reiterated calls for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu , so as not to attack Rafah.

“I fear this will again cause many civilian casualties, regardless of what they say. There are 600,000 children in Gaza. They will be pushed into so-called “safe zones” – there are no safe zones in Gaza,” he said.

Residents of Rafah were told by air-dropped leaflets over the past 48 hours to head to “expanded humanitarian areas designated by Israel.”

Aid groups have already reported that one of these areas, Al-Mawasi, a coastal town near Khan Younis, is not suitable for housing.

Source: CNN Brasil

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