THE First Minister has joined global leaders and urged the international community to "demand an immediate ceasefire" amid widespread panic of an invasion of Rafah by Israeli forces.

Humza Yousaf reacted to a statement by Ireland's Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence Micheál Martin that said evidence is “incontrovertible” that Gaza is facing a human catastrophe over the next few days unless sufficient aid flows into the besieged city.

Rafah, on the southern border with Egypt, is one of the only regions not yet targeted by an Israeli ground offensive and is providing refuge to more than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million population.

Israel claim it is the last remaining stronghold for Hamas fighters in Gaza.

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Yousaf wrote on Twitter/X on Saturday: "Ireland is right. Israel displaced millions of innocent men, women and children to south Gaza.

"They have nowhere to go. Israel's threatened action in Rafah is indefensible and will cause devastation beyond comprehension. International community must demand an immediate ceasefire."

Former first minister Nicola Sturgeon shared the Irish statement while SNP leader at Westminster Stephen Flynn had exchange over the developments with David Cameron and Keir Starmer.

The National: The party sent a letter to the Foreign Secretary (James Manning/PA)

The Foreign Secretary wrote on Twitter/X: “Deeply concerned about the prospect of a military offensive in Rafah – over half of Gaza’s population are sheltering in the area.

“The priority must be an immediate pause in the fighting to get aid in and hostages out, then progress towards a sustainable, permanent ceasefire.”

Flynn replied: "David, it’s called an immediate ceasefire. And your support for one is so long overdue."

Starmer said an expected Israeli invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah would be “catastrophic”, also posted on Twitter/X: “There are over 1.4 million displaced Palestinians in Rafah and it is the gateway to aid for Gaza – an Israeli offensive there would be catastrophic.

“The fighting must stop now. We need a sustainable ceasefire.”

Flynn replied: "Keir, it’s called an immediate ceasefire. And your support for one is so long overdue."

It comes after Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu signalled there would be an imminent invasion of Rafah, saying he had asked the military to prepare for the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people there.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has warned against the Israeli offensive on Rafah, saying it would “lead to an unspeakable humanitarian catastrophe”.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock highlighted that  people of Gaza "cannot simply disappear into thin air".

Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council has describeed Israel’s planned invasion as a “blatant violation of international law”.

It has raised questions over where civilians could be moved to and some claim it has contributed to evidence of ethnic cleansing with Israeli evacuation orders now covering two-thirds of the territory.

On Saturday, at least 44 Palestinians — including more than a dozen children — were killed by Israeli air strikes in Rafah.

Shadow foreign secretary also David Lammy tweeted on Friday: “1.4 million displaced Palestinians are in Rafah, with nowhere to go. It’s the gateway for aid to Gaza. An Israeli offensive there would be catastrophic. Far too many civilians have already been killed or wounded.

“The fighting must stop now. We need a sustainable ceasefire.”

Tensions have risen between Netanyahu and the US, which has warned Israeli forces against expanding its Gaza ground offensive to the southern city.

As the Israeli bombardment has escalated, concerns have been increasing about the plight of Gaza civilians who are facing shortages of food and medical services.

The latest figures from the Hamas-run health ministry put the overall Palestinian death toll at more than 28,000.

Netanyahu’s pledge to attack Rafah came as he also rejected Hamas’s ceasefire proposals.