Israel-Hamas war: Palestinians ordered to evacuate parts of Rafah

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military ordered tens of thousands of people to flee the southern city on Monday. Rafah in the Gaza Strip on the border with EgyptBeginning to withdraw from the area, signaling that the long-promised ground invasion was imminent.

The announcement complicated last-ditch efforts by international mediators, including the director of the CIA, to broker a ceasefire. The militant group Hamas and Qatar, the main mediator, have warned that an invasion of Rafah could derail the talks. The US has repeatedly urged Israel against invading Rafah.

However, Israel described Rafa as the last significant Hamas stronghold after seven months of warAnd its leaders have repeatedly called for a ground invasion to defeat the Islamic militant group.

Lt. Col. Nadav Shoshani, an army spokesman, said about 100,000 people were being ordered to the nearby Israeli-declared humanitarian zone of Muazi. He said Israel was preparing for a “limited-purpose operation” and could not say whether it was the start of a wider invasion of the city. But last October 7 and th Hamas Unprecedented Attack on Southern IsraelIsrael has not formally announced the ground invasion, which continues to this day.

Overnight, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that Israel had no choice but to act in Rafah. On Sunday, Hamas launched a deadly rocket attack from the Rafah area that killed three Israeli soldiers.

Shoshani said Israel had published a map of the evacuation zone and orders were being issued through windblown leaflets, text messages and radio broadcasts. He said Israel has extended humanitarian aid to Muwasi, including field hospitals, tents, food and water.

See also  Aaron Gordon leads Nuggets to Game 4 win, 3-1 series lead over Heat in NBA Finals

Israel’s military said it was acting “with extreme force” against the militants on social site X, and urged people to leave immediately for their own safety.

Israel plans to occupy Rafah Raised global alarm Because it has the potential to harm more than a million people Palestinian civilians have taken refuge there.

About 1.4 million Palestinians – more than half of Gaza’s population – are trapped inside the city and its environs. Most of them fled their homes elsewhere in the territory to escape Israeli attacks. They live in densely packed tent camps, overflowing UN shelters or overcrowded apartments, and rely on international aid for food, with crippled health systems and medical infrastructure.

UNRWA, the UN agency that has helped millions of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank for decades, warned on Monday of the devastating consequences of the Rafah offensive, including more civilian suffering and deaths. The agency said it could not remain in Rafah for as long as possible to continue providing life-saving aid.

However, while the United States, Egypt and Qatar have pressed for a ceasefire agreement, the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu It repeated last week that it would move toward the city “with or without a deal” to achieve its goal of destroying the army. Hamas militant group.

On Monday, Netanyahu accused Hamas of “torpedoing” the hostage deal and not backing down from its “serious demands” while preventing the militants from regaining control of Gaza. In a fiery speech Sunday evening marking the country’s annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, Netanyahu rejected international pressure to end the war, saying “if Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone.”

See also  ALCS, Astros beat Rangers to repeat Jose Abreu homers: Highlights

Shoshani would not say whether the upcoming Rafah operation would be a response to Sunday’s attack by Hamas that forced a key border crossing for aid. He said it will not affect aid flows into Gaza as other crossing points are operational.

However, it was not clear on Monday whether he would comment on US warnings not to invade. The evacuation order was coordinated with Egypt.

Egypt, Israel’s strategic partner, has said it would threaten an Israeli military takeover of the Gaza-Egypt border – which must be demilitarized – or any move to push Palestinians into Egypt. A four-decade peace treaty with Israel.

In Rafah, people on Monday morning received flyers in Arabic detailing which neighborhoods had to leave and where humanitarian zones had expanded. Aid services will extend from Deir al-Balah in the north to the heart of Khan Younis city in the middle of the Gaza Strip, the fliers said.

After Palestinians in Rafah received flyers, people gathered to discuss their options. Most said they did not want to travel alone and preferred traveling in groups.

“Many people have been displaced here and now they have to go back, but no one stays here and it’s not safe,” Nidal Aljanin told The Associated Press by phone.

Alsanin, a father of five, works for an international aid group and moved to Rafah from Beit Hanoun in the north at the start of the war. He said people were worried because Israeli troops had fired on Palestinians during previous evacuation orders.

Alzanin said he had packed his documents and bags but would wait 24 hours before transferring to others. He said he had a friend in Khan Yunis who he hoped could set up a tent for his family.

See also  American woman killed in shark attack in Bahamas

But some say they are too tired and unable to escape again after months of destruction.

Sahar Abu Nahel moved to Rafah with 20 members of her family, her husband has been detained by Israel and her son-in-law has disappeared, she said.

“Where shall I go? I don’t have money or anything. I am very tired like (my) children,” she said, wiping tears from her cheeks. “Perhaps it is more honorable for us to die. We are humiliated,” he said.


Mroue reports from Beirut.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *