UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Algeria on Tuesday proposed a draft U.N. Security Council resolution that demands a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, the release of all hostages held by Hamas and essentially orders Israel to "immediately halt its military offensive" in Rafah.

Algeria's U.N. Ambassador Amar Bendjama said earlier on Tuesday - after a closed-door meeting of the 15-member U.N. security body on Gaza - that the aim of the move was to "stop the killing in Rafah." Algeria is a council member for 2024/25.

The Algerian draft text, seen by Reuters, uses the strongest Security Council language - it "decides that Israel, the occupying Power, shall immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in Rafah."

It also cites a ruling by the International Court of Justice last week that ordered Israel to immediately halt its military assault on Rafah, in a landmark emergency ruling in South Africa's case accusing Israel of genocide.

Diplomats said the council could vote within days.

The move comes after an attack on Sunday set off a blaze in a camp in a designated humanitarian zone of Rafah in southern Gaza, killing at least 45 people. Israel said it had targeted Hamas militants and had not intended to harms civilians.

A council resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the U.S., Britain, France, Russia or China to pass. The U.S. has so far shielded its ally Israel by vetoing three draft council resolutions on the war in Gaza.

But Washington has also abstained on three votes, most recently allowing the council in March to demand an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas.

Israel is retaliating against Hamas, which rules Gaza, over an Oct. 7 attack by its militants in which more than 1,200 people were killed and over 250 taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies. Nearly 130 hostages are believed to remain captive in Gaza.

Israel launched an air, ground and sea assault on the blockaded Palestinian territory, killing more than 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health authorities. Israel says it wants to root out the last major intact formations of Hamas fighters hunkered down in Rafah and rescue hostages.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Kanishka Singh and Michael Perry)

By Michelle Nichols