The United States has warned Israel that staging a military offensive into Gaza’s southern city of Rafah without proper planning would be a “disaster”.
Some 1.5 million Palestinians are surviving in the city bordering Egypt in dire humanitarian conditions.
The White House said it would not support major operations without due consideration for the refugees there.
The comments came days after Israel’s leader said the military had been told to prepare to operate in Rafah.
Speaking on Thursday evening, and without referring to Rafah, US President Joe Biden said Israel’s actions in Gaza had been “over the top”.
Reported Israeli air strikes on Gaza yesterday killed at least 15 people including eight in Rafah, officials from the Hamas-run health ministry said. Israel did not immediately comment.
Salem El-Rayyes, a freelance journalist living at a camp for displaced people in Rafah, said children were among those killed when an air strike hit a house nearby. Bodies of the victims “flew from the third floor”, he told Reuters.
Most of the people in Rafah have been displaced by fighting from other parts of Gaza and are living in tents.
Garda al-Kourd, a mother-of-two who said she had been displaced six times during the war, said she was expecting an Israeli assault but hoped there would be a ceasefire agreement before it happened.