• Wednesday, 12 June 2024

Israeli army orders evacuation of further parts of Rafah

Israeli army orders evacuation of further parts of Rafah

Tel Aviv, 11 May 2024 (dpa/MIA) - The Israeli army told Rafah residents to leave other areas in the east of Gaza's southern city on Saturday, in a call that suggests it plans to expand its military operation there, despite growing international demands to desist.

The areas affected include two refugee camps, according to the message broadcast in Arabic on X and in text messages.

People in the listed areas must immediately move to the village of Al-Mawasi on the Mediterranean coast, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said.

The order suggests that the IDF intends to expand its operation against positions and combat units of the Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas in the city on the border with Egypt.

Foreign leaders and the United Nations have called on Israel to halt the operation, which began earlier in the week, fearing mass casualties as people have fled to the city to escape fighting in other parts of the Gaza Strip, leading to extreme overcrowding.

More than 1 million Palestinians are seeking refuge in Rafah, half of them children.

"A massive ground attack in Rafah would lead to an epic humanitarian disaster and pull the plug on our efforts to support people as famine looms," UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Friday.

The United States, Israel's main ally, is also urging against a large-scale offensive and US President Joe Biden has threatened to restrict the supply of weapons.

But the Israeli leadership continues to insist on its aim to eliminate the last battalions of Hamas thought to be in Rafah.

Israel has been fighting Hamas in Gaza since Hamas militants and other extremist groups launched a bloody raid on Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people and kidnapping more than 200.

Israel responded to the massacre with massive airstrikes and launched a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 35,000 people according to the Hamas-controlled health authorities in Gaza.  

Photo: EPA