AN INTERNATIONAL court has ordered the immediate halt of Israel’s military offensive in Rafah.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that Israel must immediately end its military offensive in the southern Gazan city, citing the "immediate risk" to the Palestinian people.

Judges said the humanitarian situation in Rafah has “deteriorated further” since the court's previous order and added the situation in Gaza was classed as “disastrous”.

The decision marked the third time this year the 15-judge panel has issued preliminary orders seeking to reduce the death toll and alleviate humanitarian suffering in Gaza.

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The court has made several orders to Israel including the halt of all military operations in Rafah.

The ICJ has also ordered the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt for the entry of humanitarian aid.

They have also demanded access to Gaza for investigators to go on fact-finding missions in the areas and that Israel must report to the court within a month on its progress in applying these measures.

The verdict follows South Africa’s emergency request to the ICJ for it to order Israel to stop its offensive in Rafah, southern Gaza.

Former first minister Humza Yousaf took to the social media platform Twitter/X to echo the ICJ's judgment. 

His post read: “In conformity with obligations under the Genocide Convention, Israel must immediately halt its military offensive in Rafah.

“Not my words, but those of the International Court of Justice.

“Israel must adhere to orders from the ICJ, and the UK must immediately stop arming Israel.”

CARE International, a leading humanitarian organisation fighting global poverty, has called for the UK Government to fulfill its role to ensure compliance with the ICJ’s ruling.

Dorothy Sang, head of advocacy and policy at CARE International UK, has called for Israel to immediately implement the ICJ's rulings as aid is urgently needed in Gaza.

She said: “We welcome the International Court of Justice ruling ordering Israel to immediately halt its military operation in Rafah and open the Rafah crossing.

“The major escalation of Israeli military operations in Rafah and the north of Gaza has already had a devastating impact on civilians. While the population is starving, only a trickle of aid is entering Gaza with aid crossings closed or obstructed.

“Israel must immediately implement the Court’s previous orders, including ensuring the unhindered provision at scale of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance. A massive increase in humanitarian aid is now needed.

“The siege on Gaza must be lifted. All land crossing points must operate at full capacity and commercial operators encouraged and supported to resume their work. The screening of goods must be fast-tracked and humanitarian workers must be able to move safely into, out of, and throughout Gaza.

“Israel must ensure civilians are protected during its military operations and they must have access to medical care, food and water.

“CARE calls on the UK Government and the international community, including the Security Council, to fulfil their role to ensure compliance with the ICJ’s ruling and uphold the consistent application of international law.”

Israel has strongly denied the accusations and is unlikely to comply with the ruling.

While orders from the ICJ are legally binding, the court has no police to enforce them.