Qatar condemns Israel’s plan to launch offensive in Rafah

Qatar on Sunday condemned “in the strongest terms” Israel’s plans for a ground offensive in the city of Rafah, urging the UN’s Security Council to “prevent” Israel from committing what it described as “genocide.”

Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned of “a humanitarian catastrophe in the city that has become a last refuge for hundreds of thousands of displaced people inside the besieged Strip,” in a statement on its website.

The Gulf nation called on the Security Council “to take urgent action to prevent the Israeli occupation forces from invading Rafah and committing genocide, and to provide full protection to civilians under international law and international humanitarian law,” the statement read.

The ministry said it “affirms Qatar’s categorical rejection of attempts to forcibly displace the Palestinian people from Gaza Strip.”

Qatar has been a key player in talks between Israel and Hamas, mediating a potential truce agreement between the two sides involving the release of hostages.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has directed the country’s military to plan for the evacuation of the more than 1 million people living in Rafah, his office said in a statement on Friday, ahead of an anticipated ground assault on the southern Gaza city.