Qatar called on the international community on Wednesday to prevent a “genocide” in Rafah following Israel’s seizure of the Gaza city’s crossing with Egypt and threats of a wider assault.

In a statement the Gulf state, which has been mediating between Israel and militant group Hamas, appealed “for urgent international action to prevent the city from being invaded and a crime of genocide being committed.”

Israel struck targets in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday after seizing the main border crossing with Egypt. Israel has vowed for weeks to launch a ground incursion into Rafah, despite a clamor of international objection.

The attacks on the southern city, which is packed with displaced civilians, came as negotiators and mediators met in Cairo to try to hammer out a hostage-release and truce deal in the seven-month war.

Qatar, which has hosted Hamas’s political office in Doha since 2012, has been engaged — along with Egypt and the United States — in months of behind-the-scenes mediation between Israel and the Palestinian group.

With AFP