U.S. President Joe Biden has vowed publicly for the first time to withhold weapons from Israel if its forces make a major invasion of Rafah in southern Gaza.


Biden, whose administration has repeatedly asked Israel for its plan to protect civilians in Rafah, told newsmen that a Rafah invasion will be catastrophic, promising to secure civilians at all cost.


Biden’s latest comments has increased the pressure on Israel to refrain from a full-scale assault on Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have sought refuge after fleeing combat farther north in Gaza.


There was no immediate comment from Israel on Biden’s remarks, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the Rafah operation would go ahead, to defeat thousands of Hamas fighters hiding there.



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