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AP Top News at 11:26 p.m. EST

Gaza mediators and others warn Israel of disaster if it launches a ground invasion on crowded Rafah

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel’s neighbors and key mediators warned Saturday of disaster and repercussions if its military launches a ground invasion in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah, where Israel says remaining Hamas strongholds are located — along with over half the besieged territory’s population. Israeli airstrikes killed at least 44 Palestinians — including more than a dozen children — in Rafah, hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he asked the military to plan for the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people ahead of an invasion. He gave no details or timeline. The announcement set off panic. More than half of Gaza's 2.3 million people are packed into Rafah, which borders Egypt.