Israel-Hamas war: Israel orders new evictions from Gaza city of Rafah

Rafah, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel ordered new evacuations Saturday in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, forcing tens of thousands of people to move, as it prepares to expand its military operation near the densely populated central enclave. in the middle War From close ally the US and others.

as Pro-Palestine protests Subsequently, Israel’s military said it was moving into a ravaged part of northern Gaza, where the Hamas militant group insisted it had regrouped.

Israel has now evacuated the eastern third of Rafah, considered the last refuge in Gaza. The United Nations has warned that a planned full-scale Rafah invasion will happen Further paralyzes humanitarian operations and cause a surge in civilian casualties.

Rafah is close to Egypt’s main aid entry points, which have already been affected. There are Israeli troops occupied the Gaza Strip of the Rafah Crossing, which was forced to close.

Egypt has refused to coordinate aid with Israel at the Rafah crossing due to “unacceptable Israeli escalation”. The channel has close links with Egyptian security agencies.

US President Joe Biden has said that he will not provide Israel with offensive weapons for Rafa. The Biden administration on Friday said it was “reasonable.” Evidence of Israel’s violation of international law Protecting citizens – Washington’s strong statement on the matter.

In response, Ofir Falk, a foreign policy adviser to Israel’s prime minister, told The Associated Press that Israel is acting in accordance with the laws of armed conflict and that the military is taking extensive measures to prevent civilian casualties, including alerting the public to military operations through phone calls. Text messages.

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more than 1.4 million Palestinians – half of Gaza’s population – have taken refuge in Rafah after fleeing Israeli attacks elsewhere. Areas devastated by previous Israeli attacks are forcing some to return north. Aid agencies estimated 110,000 people had left before Saturday’s order, adding another 40,000.

“Are we all waiting for each other to die? So we have decided to leave. It’s good,” said Hanan al-Saatari, a resident of Rafah, as people rushed to load mattresses, water tanks and other items into vehicles.

“There is no safe zone for the Israeli army in Gaza. They target everything,” said Abu Yusuf al-Diri, a former displaced person from Gaza City.

Many have migrated multiple times. There are still a few places to go. Earlier in the week some fleeing fighting set up tent camps in the city of Khan Younis – half destroyed in an earlier Israeli offensive – and the central city of Deir al-Bala, straining infrastructure.

The Muwasi coastal area, which some Palestinians call Israel’s humanitarian buffer zone, is already badly overcrowded with 450,000 people. The dumping camp lacks basic facilities.

Georgios Petropoulos, a UN humanitarian official in Rafah, said aid workers had no supplies to help people in the new locations. “We simply have no tents, no blankets, no bedding, none of the things that you would expect people on the move to be able to get from a humanitarian system,” he said.

The World Food Program has warned that it will run out of food to distribute in southern Gaza by Saturday, Petropoulos said — a further challenge as parts of Gaza face what the WFP chief called “Complete famine.” Aid groups have reported that fuel will soon run out, forcing hospitals to shut down critical operations and halt aid trucks.

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Heavy fighting is also ongoing in northern Gaza. Israeli military spokesman Avichai Atrey told Palestinians in and around Jabaliya and Beit Lahiya to leave their homes and move to shelters west of Gaza City. .”

The UN agency that supports people in Gaza, known as UNRWA, said around 300,000 people were affected by the evacuation orders in Rafah and Jabaliya, but the number could be higher.

Northern Gaza was the first target of Israel’s ground offensive after Hamas and other militants attacked southern Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking 250 hostages. They still hold 100 prisoners and the remains of over 30. Hamas said on Saturday that Nadav Popplewell, who was wounded in an Israeli airstrike a month ago, was being held hostage. Hamas has not provided any evidence for the claim.

Israeli bombing and ground attacks have killed more than 34,800 Palestinians, mostly women and children, according to Gaza’s health ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and militants in its statistics. Israel blames Hamas for civilian casualties.

Civil officials in Gaza on Saturday provided more details about mass graves announced by the Health Ministry earlier in the week at Shifa Hospital, northern Gaza’s largest hospital and the target of a previous Israeli attack. Officials said most of the 80 bodies were patients who died due to lack of care. The Israeli military said “any attempt to blame Israel for burying civilians in mass graves is completely false”.

At least 19 people, including eight women and eight children, were killed overnight in central Gaza in strikes in the areas of Zaweida, Makhaji and Deir al-Balah, according to an AP journalist who visited Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital and a body count.

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“Kids, what’s wrong with dead babies?” A relative said. A woman punched one of the children in the face as he lay on the floor.

Another round of ceasefire talks in Cairo ended earlier this week without progress.


Sam Mednick reported from Tel Aviv and Sammy Magdi from Cairo. Jack Jeffrey in Jerusalem contributed to this story.


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