May 24, 2024

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The war between Israel and Hamas: Israel orders new evacuations in the city of Rafah in Gaza

The war between Israel and Hamas: Israel orders new evacuations in the city of Rafah in Gaza

RAFAH (Gaza Strip) – Israel ordered new evacuations in the southern Gaza city of Rafah on Saturday, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee as it prepares to expand its military operation near the densely populated central area, in defiance of mounting pressure. middle the war Its close ally is the United States and others.

like Pro-Palestinian protests However, the Israeli military also said it was moving into a devastated area in northern Gaza where it confirmed the Hamas militant group had regrouped.

Israel has now evacuated the eastern third of Rafah, considered the last refuge in Gaza. The United Nations has warned that a large-scale invasion of Rafah is planned as well Further paralyzing humanitarian operations It caused a high number of civilian casualties.

The Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt is located near the main aid entry points that have already been affected. The Israeli forces did Captured the Gaza side Rafah crossing, which led to its closure.

Egypt has refused to coordinate with Israel to deliver aid through the Rafah crossing due to the “unacceptable Israeli escalation,” the state-owned Cairo News Channel reported on Saturday, citing an unnamed official. The channel has close relations with the Egyptian security services.

US President Joe Biden said that he would not provide offensive weapons to Israel in Rafah. The Biden administration said on Friday that there was “reasonable” Evidence that Israel violated international law Protection of Civilians – Washington’s strongest statement to date on this matter.

In response, Ofir Falk, a foreign policy adviser to the Israeli prime minister, told the Associated Press that Israel is acting in accordance with the laws of armed conflict, and that the military is taking broad measures to avoid civilian casualties, including alerting people to military operations via phone calls and phone calls. Telephony. Text messages.

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more than 1.4 million Palestinians Half of Gaza’s population – half the population – has taken refuge in Rafah, most of them after fleeing Israeli attacks elsewhere. The evacuations are forcing some people to return to the north, where areas have been devastated by previous Israeli attacks. Aid agencies estimate that 110,000 people had left before Saturday’s order, adding another 40,000.

“Should we wait until we all die on top of each other? So we decided to leave. This is better,” said Hanan Al-Satri, a Rafah resident, as people rushed to load mattresses, water tanks and other belongings onto vehicles.

“The Israeli army does not have a safe zone in Gaza. “They target everything,” said Abu Youssef Al-Deiri, who was previously displaced from Gaza City.

Many people have been displaced multiple times. There are a few places left to go. Some fleeing the fighting earlier in the week set up camps in the city of Khan Yunis – half of which was destroyed in a previous Israeli attack – and the central city of Deir al-Balah, straining infrastructure.

Some Palestinians are being sent to what Israel calls humanitarian safe zones along the Mawasi coastal strip, which is already crowded with about 450,000 people living in squalid conditions. The camp, filled with garbage, lacks basic facilities.

Georgios Petropoulos, an official at the UN humanitarian agency in Rafah, said aid workers do not have supplies to help people settle in new locations. “We simply have no tents, no blankets, no beds, none of the materials you would expect a mobile population to be able to get from the humanitarian system,” he said.

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Petropoulos said that the World Food Program had warned that food intended for distribution in southern Gaza would run out by Saturday, which poses an additional challenge at a time when parts of Gaza are facing what the head of the World Food Program described as “Total famine.” Aid groups said fuel would soon run out, forcing hospitals to halt vital operations and halt trucks delivering aid.

There was also fierce fighting in northern Gaza. Israeli army spokesman Avichai Adraee asked Palestinians in Jabalia, Beit Lahia and the surrounding areas to leave their homes and go to shelters in western Gaza City, warning that people are in a “dangerous combat zone” and that Israel will strike “with great force.” “.

The United Nations agency that supports people in Gaza, known as UNRWA, said about 300,000 people were affected by evacuation orders in Rafah and Jabalia, but the numbers were likely to be higher.

Northern Gaza was the first target of the Israeli ground offensive that began after Hamas and other militants attacked southern Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and taking 250 others hostage. They are still holding about 100 prisoners and the remains of more than 30. Hamas said on Saturday that hostage Nadav Boublewell died after being wounded in an Israeli air strike a month ago. Hamas did not provide any evidence for this claim.

Israeli bombing and ground attacks led to the deaths of more than 34,800 Palestinians, most of them women and children, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants in its numbers. Israel blames Hamas for civilian casualties, and accuses it of being present in densely populated residential areas.

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Civilian authorities in Gaza on Saturday provided more details about the mass graves announced by the Health Ministry earlier in the week at Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in northern Gaza that was the target of a previous Israeli attack. Authorities said most of the 80 bodies of patients died due to lack of care. The Israeli army 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 raids that hit the Zawaida, Maghazi and Deir al-Balah areas, according to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital and an AP journalist who counted the bodies.

“Children, what is the fault of the children who died?” A relative said. A woman hit one of the children in the face who was lying on the ground.

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

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Sam Madanek reported from Tel Aviv and Sami Magdy from Cairo. Jack Jeffrey in Jerusalem contributed to this story.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the war on https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war