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Gaza: South Africa submits "urgent request" to ICJ

A Palestinian girl in Gaza.   -  
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South Africa has asked the International Court of Justice to consider whether Israel's plan to extend its offensive in Gaza into the city of Rafah requires additional emergency measures to protect the rights of Palestinians.

In a statement, on Tuesday, the South African presidency said it had submitted an "urgent request" to the ICJ on Monday, adding that the government was "gravely concerned that the unprecedented military offensive against Rafah, as announced by the State of Israel, has already led to and will result in further large scale killing, harm and destruction.

Last month, the World Court ordered Israel to take all measures to prevent its troops from committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, following a case brought by South Africa.

Israel plans to expand its campaign into Rafah where 1 million Palestinians have sought refuge after fleeing the rest of the Gaza Strip, much of it destroyed by Israeli military operations since October 7.

Speaking following a meeting with member states at the United Nations in Geneva on Tuesday, the head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, said the situation in Rafah is "deeply concerning".

"If this military operation is taking place the question is, where will the civilian go?" Lazzarini said. "There is absolutely no safe place in Rafah anymore. And the fear is that the number of people killed and injured might begin to significantly increase in the conflict where I reminded [member states] that already more than 100,000 people have been either killed, either injured or are missing."

The ICJ has so far declined to comment on the request.

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