ISRAELI airstrikes killed at least 44 Palestinians and more than a dozen children amid fears of a ground invasion in the Gaza city of Rafah.
Survivors mourned the dead while firefighters extinguished the flaming shells of cars following this morning’s bloody blasts.
The youngest victim was believed to be a three-month-old baby as four strikes tore through homes butchering multiple family members.
City officials claimed two further strikes killed two policemen and three senior officers in the civil police.
It came hours after Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the military to plan evacuating hundreds of thousands of people from Rafah.
He insists the southern city is the last remaining stronghold for Hamas terrorists behind the October 7 attack.
The latest development comes after British families of Israelis taken hostage during Hamas’ horrific spree met with Rishi Sunak on Tuesday.
The PM described the kidnapping of innocent civilians by the terror group as an “unthinkable horror” as he tried to comfort the frantic relatives of those held in Hamas’ Gaza tunnels.
Sunak met with the sister of one British hostage currently held in Gaza, as well as the aunt of another.
And he spoke to the friends and family of two other hostages with links to the UK.
Over 130 Israeli hostages are still thought to be held by Hamas.
The New York Times this week reported the Israeli Defence Forces fear at least 32 are dead.
What is Hamas?
The organization is a Palestinian militant movement that also serves as one of the territories’ two major political parties, explains the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
Over the years, Hamas has carried out shooting, bombing, and rocket attacks in Israel.
Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza have fought multiple cross-border wars and have had numerous skirmishes since the group seized control of Gaza in 2007.
Hamas as a whole, or in some cases its military wing, is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the US, the EU, and the UK, as well as other powers.
“To its supporters, though, Hamas is seen as a legitimate resistance movement,” reported BBC.
In 1997, the US designated Hamas as a terrorist organization.
The United States Department of State says: “Historically, Hamas has received funding, weapons, and training from Iran and raises funds in Gulf countries.
“The group receives donations from Palestinian expatriates as well as its own charity organizations.”
On October 7, 2023, Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel.
The IDF said that the group had fired over 2,000 rockets from Gaza, while some militants entered the state via land, sea, and air using paragliders.
We are on the verge of a great victory and a clear conquest on the Gaza front,” Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said in a broadcast on Hamas-run Al-Aqsa television.
“Enough is enough, the cycle of intifadas [uprisings] and revolutions in the battle to liberate our land and our prisoners languishing in occupation [Israeli] prisons must be completed.”