United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday warned that the organisation's Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA cannot be replaced, even as it faces criticism and donor pullout after 12 staffers were accused by Israel of involvement in the Hamas-led October 7 attacks. Fears over conditions throughout Gaza are mounting as more than 1 million Palestinians seek shelter in Rafah, where Israel is intensifying bombardment in preparation for a possible ground operation. Read our blog to see how the day's events unfolded.
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Israeli air strikes killed more than a dozen people in Rafah on Thursday morning, hours after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rejected Hamas's ceasefire terms and vowed to expand the offensive into the overcrowded southern Gaza city. More than half of the Palestinian territory's population is sheltering in Rafah, which lies on the mostly sealed border with Egypt.
UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini said in a separate statement Thursday that hundreds of thousands of lives are at risk in north and central Gaza because of a lack of food.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and Reuters)
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