International Court of Justice orders Israel to halt Rafah offensive


The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Israel to stop its military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

The court said the humanitarian situation in Rafah had “deteriorated further” since its previous court order, adding the situation there was classed as “disastrous”.

It comes after South Africa put in an emergency request to the ICJ for it to order Israel to stop its offensive in Rafah.

In January, the African nation formally accused Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians in a hearing at the United Nations court.

During opening arguments, a lawyer for South Africa said the latest war is part of decades of Israeli oppression.

Israel has vehemently denied the accusations.

And it is believed that Israel is unlikely to comply with the latest ICJ order.

More on Israel-hamas War

Israel says it has no choice but to attack Rafah to root out the last battalions of Hamas fighters it thinks are sheltering

The Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to both eliminate Hamas and get all the hostages back who were taken in the October 7 attacks.

“Hamas is in Rafah, Hamas has been holding our hostages in Rafah, which is why our forces are manoeuvering in Rafah. We’re doing this in a targeted and precise way,” Israeli chief military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said on Thursday.

But the US – Israel’s most powerful ally – has threatened to scale back its support over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court – a separate court also based in The Hague – announced on Monday he had filed an application for arrest warrants against Mr Netanyahu and defence minister Yoav Gallant, as well as leaders of Hamas.

Prosecutor Karim Khan accused Mr Netanyahu and Mr Gallant of crimes including extermination, using hunger as a weapon and deliberately attacking civilians. Israel strongly denied the charges.

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