JERUSALEM (dpa-AFX) - President Joe Biden has repeated his appeal for the protection of more than a million civilians in Rafah who are facing the wrath of a large-scale military operation by Israel.
Dozens of people, including children, were killed as warplanes and helicopters pounded multiple locations in the southern Gazan city after midnight Sunday.
'There is panic and desperation as 1.4 million people try to survive, try to get food and water - at the same time fearing for their lives due to continued military operation,' UNRWA says.
Rafah has become one of the most densely populated places on earth with more than half of Gaza's 2.3 million-strong population taking refuge in the southern city.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians who left the north, mainly Khan Yunis, to try to get out of the fighting, are crammed into makeshift tents with scarce access to safe drinking water or food. They include families that have been displaced many times.
During their meeting at the White House, President Biden and Jordan's' King Abdullah discussed the ongoing situation in Gaza and efforts to help produce an enduring end to the conflict.
Biden insisted that the major military operation in Rafah should not proceed without a credible plan for ensuring the safety and support of more than one million people sheltering there.
'Many people there have been displaced - displaced multiple times, fleeing the violence to the north, and now they're packed into Rafah - exposed and vulnerable. They need to be protected,' he told reporters.
Ahead of the Rafah military operation, Biden had warned Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu of its humanitarian consequences.
He made it clear that Washington opposes any forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza.
King Abdullah noted that one of the most devastating wars in recent history continues to unfold in Gaza. Nearly 100,000 people have been killed, injured, or are missing. The majority are women and children.
He called for a lasting ceasefire and the need to urgently work to ensure the sustainable delivery of sufficient aid to Gaza through all possible entry points and mechanisms.
'The potential threat of Palestinian displacement beyond the borders of Gaza and the West Bank is something we view with extreme concern and cannot be allowed,' the King said.
Hamas made it clear that with the Rafah operation, Israel has closed the doors for negotiations on hostage release.
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