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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

SA files urgent request to ICJ over Israel’s attacks in Rafah

Israel extended its military operations in in Rafah, where about one million civilians sought refuge from months of bombardments.

As Israel continues to unleash airstrikes in Rafah, the South African government has made an urgent request to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to consider using its power to prevent further deaths of Palestinians in Gaza.

Last week, Israel extended its military operations in the southern Gaza city.

The mission by the Israeli military killed 74 Palestinians in Rafah, where about one million civilians have sought refuge from months of bombardments.

The ICJ last month ordered Israel to take all measures within its power to prevent its troops from committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. The international court made this ruling in the case brought by South Africa calling for Israel to suspend its Gaza offensive and enable humanitarian aid to thousands of displaced Palestinians.

ALSO READ: Dirco warns Israel of further legal action if Gaza attack continues

Under Article 75(1) of the Rules of Court, “the court may at any time decide to examine proprio motu whether the circumstances of the case require the indication of provisional measures which ought to be taken or complied with by any or all of the parties”.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said South Africa “trusts the matter will receive the necessary urgency in light of the daily death toll in Gaza”.

In a request submitted to the court on Monday, the South African government said it was concerned that the military offensive in Rafah has already led to large scale killing, harm and destruction.

“This would be in serious and irreparable breach both of the Genocide Convention and of the court’s order of 26 January 2024,” Magwenya said.

Deep concern

On Monday, the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor voiced deep concern about a possible Israeli ground offensive into Rafah in Gaza, warning that anyone breaching international law would be held accountable.

Karim Khan said his office’s investigation into events in Gaza is “being taken forward as a matter of the utmost urgency”.

“I am deeply concerned by the reported bombardment and potential ground incursion by Israeli forces in Rafah,” he said on X.

Israel’s war on Gaza — now in its 130th day — has killed at least 28 473 Palestinians and wounded 68 146 others.

ALSO READ: ANC misinterpreting ICJ ruling on Gaza to protect Hamas − SA Zionist Federation

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