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Turkish Foreign Ministry calls on Israel to halt attack on Rafah

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The Turkish Foreign Ministry has slammed Israel for its ongoing attacks on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, warning that a wider offensive in the city will affect not only the Middle East region but also the entire world.

An Israeli tank brigade has seized control of the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, while Israel threatens to launch a wider offensive in the southern city.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Öncü Keçeli released a statement on Tuesday saying that at a time when Hamas welcomed the latest proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza and the mutual release of hostages and prisoners with Israel, Israel’s increased attacks on Rafah have once again shown that the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not acting “in good faith.”

Hamas said on Monday that it accepted an Egyptian-Qatari cease-fire proposal, but Israel said the deal did not meet its core demands and it was pushing ahead with plans to invade Rafah.

“An offensive on Rafah will affect not only the region but the whole world. Israel must immediately withdraw from the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing. The status quo in Rafah and at the border crossing must be restored without further delay,” Keçeli warned.

By capturing the Rafah crossing, Israel gained full control over the entry and exit of people and goods for the first time since it withdrew soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2005, though it has long maintained a blockade of the coastal enclave in cooperation with Egypt.

Netanyahu called the capture of the crossing an “important step” toward dismantling Hamas’ military and governing capabilities, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel would “deepen” the Rafah operation if talks on the hostage deal failed.

The Gaza Strip is suffering a humanitarian crisis caused by Israel’s war against Hamas that has been raging since October 7, with the United Nations and aid agencies warning of impending famine.

The war started with Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel that resulted in the death of roughly 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and some 250 people taken hostage.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive against Hamas has killed at least 34,700 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry, and has devastated the Gaza Strip.

Turkey is one of the most outspoken critics of Israel’s war on Gaza, accusing the Israeli government of committing “war crimes” and a “genocide” in the enclave. Last week Turkey’s Trade Ministry announced that it was suspending all trade with Israel until it allows aid to enter Gaza unhindered during its offensive against Hamas militants.

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