Israeli airstrikes ravaged the southern Gaza city of Rafah, claiming the lives of at least 44 Palestinians, including over a dozen children.
The onslaught occurred just hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted at plans for the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people from the area, sparking panic and alarm among diplomats.
With over half of Gaza's population crammed into Rafah, uncertainty looms over the fate of those displaced by Israeli evacuation orders.
Israel says that Rafah, which borders Egypt, is the last remaining stronghold for the Hamas militant group in Gaza after more than four months of war sparked by the Oct. 7 Hamas attack.
Egypt's Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, cautioned against the dire consequences of an Israeli ground offensive on Rafah, warning of potential disaster and asserting Israel's aim to displace Palestinians from their land.
Amid escalating tensions, Egypt is actively engaged in mediating a ceasefire and negotiating the release of hostages taken during earlier conflicts.
Shoukry added that Egypt was working to bridge the gap between the warring sides to achieve a permanent cease-fire and free the remaining hostages taken on Oct. 7 in return for Palestinian prisoners in Israel. "The negotiations are complex," he said.