Israel strikes deeper into Gaza despite top UN court ruling to halt Rafah offensive

Israel-Hamas negotiations to take place from next week

Rafah offensive Israel Smoke rises during an Israeli air strike, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip | Reuters

Even after the UN top court ruling, Israel pressed on with its Rafah offensive in southern Gaza on Saturday. Over 30 people were killed in the recent Israeli attack. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Friday ruled Israel to halt its offensive on Rafah. 

The Israeli military said it had carried out "operational activity in specific areas of Rafah", including killing militants, dismantling part of Hamas' tunnel system and locating arms and weapons. 

According to witnesses, Israeli tanks entered deep into the area of Jabalia, destroying dozens of houses, shops and roads. 

Amid the intensifying strikes, Israel-Hamas mediations are due to restart next week. The decision on talks was taken after the head of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency met the head of the CIA and the prime minister of Qatar, reported Reuters. 

"At the end of the meeting, it was decided that in the coming week negotiations will open based on new proposals led by the mediators, Egypt and Qatar and with active US involvement," a source was quoted by Reuters. 

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, as many as 35,903 Palestinians have been killed and 80,420 injured since the Israel-Hamas war on October 7 attack. 

Meanwhile, after the ICJ ruling, the Spanish government on Saturday demanded Israel to comply with the order and halt its offensive on Rafah. “The precautionary measures set out by the ICJ, including that Israel should cease its military offensive in Rafah, are compulsory. Israel must comply with them,” Spanish foreign minister José Manuel Albares wrote on X.

“The same goes for a ceasefire, the release of the hostages and access for humanitarian aid [to Gaza]...the suffering of the people of Gaza and the violence must end." 

However, the UK government had criticised the ICJ over its ruling. “The reason there isn’t a pause in the fighting is because Hamas turned down a very generous hostage deal from Israel. The intervention of these courts – including the ICJ today – will strengthen the view of Hamas that they can hold on to hostages and stay in Gaza,” a UK foreign ministry spokesperson said. 

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