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Watch in full: ICJ orders Israel to halt Rafah offensive in case by South Africa

World Court rules on new request from South Africa sparked by Israeli ground assault

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Israel to immediately halt its military offensive in Rafah after South Africa requested new emergency measures as part of its ongoing case accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza.

In its fourth submission to the ICJ last week, South Africa called for new emergency measures after Israel launched a ground incursion in Rafah, which came after months of devastating bombardment.

ICJ President Nawaf Salam said the humanitarian situation in Gaza was now "disastrous" and said earlier measures issued were insufficient.

"Israel must immediately halt its military offensive and any other action in the Rafah governorate which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part," he said, reading out the judgment to the court.

He added that Israel needed to reopen the Rafah crossing and "ensure the unimpeded access of commissions of inquiry or investigative bodies mandated by the UN to investigate allegations of genocide".

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These measures are in addition to the nine provisional measures requested by South Africa in its first submission to the court in January, which included a call for Israel to halt military operations in Gaza.

The court did not deliver this key order but called on Israel to ensure its troops do not commit genocidal acts against Palestinians in Gaza, allow more humanitarian aid to flow in, and preserve any evidence of violations.

The court ordered Israel to report back on its compliance with the measures “within one month”.

Israel's invasion of Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Palestinians have sought refuge, was heavily opposed by many in the international community, including Israel's allies.

But despite public US opposition, the Israeli military earlier this month launched a ground assault on the city - and seized the crossing with Egypt used to bring aid in - at a time when mediators were in Cairo, attempting to work out a ceasefire.

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