Israel orders new evacuations in Rafah

Israel orders new evacuations in Rafah
Israel orders new evacuations in Rafah

Israel orders new evacuations in Rafah

Published: 05/11/2024, 11:24 a.m. Updated 12 hours ago

The Israeli army bombed the Gaza Strip on Saturday and ordered new evacuations in Rafah after the UN warned of a “colossal humanitarian catastrophe” in this overpopulated town on the Egyptian border.

AFP journalists, doctors and witnesses reported strikes in both the north and south of the Palestinian territory where, according to the UN, humanitarian aid has been blocked since Israeli troops entered the area. east of Rafah on Monday, closing two crossing points.

At least 21 people killed in overnight bombings in central Gaza were transported to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the town of Deir al-Balah, according to a statement from the facility.

Bodies covered in white cloth lay on the ground in a hospital courtyard. A man in a baseball cap leaned over a body bag, clutching a dust-covered hand. A corpse’s feet protruded from a red and black checkered blanket.

In Rafah, witnesses reported intense airstrikes near the crossing point with Egypt, smoke rose above the town, according to AFP images.

“Rebuild”

Defying international warnings against a major offensive in this city where 1.4 million Palestinians are crowded together, most of them displaced by the violence, according to the UN, the Israeli army has been carrying out incursions into the east of the country since Tuesday. Rafah. It took control of the border crossing with Egypt, blocking a key gateway for humanitarian aid convoys.

To “defeat” Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists on the need for an operation in Rafah, where according to him the last battalions of the Palestinian Islamist movement are entrenched.

Fighting continued on the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing, the army said on Friday, before extending its evacuation order to other areas in the east of the city on Saturday.

The new order says the designated areas have been “the scene of Hamas terrorist activity over the past few days and weeks.” Around 300,000 Palestinians have left the eastern neighborhoods of Rafah since the evacuation order was issued on May 6, the army said on Saturday.

In January, it announced it had dismantled Hamas’s command structure in the northern Gaza Strip, but on Saturday a spokesperson said Hamas was “trying to rebuild” in that region and the army ordered the evacuation of the areas of Jabalia and Beit Lahia, in the north.

Video of an Israeli hostage

The armed wing of Hamas broadcast a video on Telegram on Saturday showing an Israeli hostage held in the Gaza Strip since the attack by the Palestinian Islamist movement on October 7.

These images of around ten seconds, and the date of recording is not specified, show a man, with a swollen eye and a haggard look, who utters his name. The message is accompanied by the hashtags “Time is running out” and “your government is lying.”

American reviews

The war broke out on October 7 when Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza carried out an unprecedented attack against Israel, killing more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP report based on official Israeli data.

More than 250 people have been kidnapped and 128 remain captive in Gaza, of whom 36 are believed to have died, according to the army. In response, Israel promised to annihilate Hamas, in power in Gaza since 2007, and launched an offensive which has so far left 34,971 dead, according to the Islamist movement’s Ministry of Health.

The US State Department said in a report on Friday that the United States finds it “reasonable to assess” that Israel has violated international humanitarian law in Gaza but cannot definitively conclude this, and will continue to deliver weapons to this country, according to the report.

A large operation in Rafah would lead to a “colossal humanitarian catastrophe,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned, adding that famine was looming in the Palestinian territory.

“We call on the Israeli authorities to cease this military operation without delay and to return to the path of negotiations, the only possible path to lead to the immediate release of the hostages and obtain a lasting ceasefire,” diplomacy added overnight. French.

US President Joe Biden has threatened to stop certain arms deliveries to Israel in the event of a major offensive in Rafah.

“Flexibility”

According to the UN, around 110,000 people have fled since Israel called on the population of eastern Rafah to evacuate on Monday.

Despite the reopening on Wednesday of the Kerem Shalom crossing, neighboring Rafah, closed by Israel for three days after Hamas rocket attacks, the delivery of aid remains “extremely difficult”, Andrea De Domenico told AFP , the head of the Ocha office in the Palestinian territories.

Friday evening, Cogat, the body of the Israeli Ministry of Defense overseeing civil affairs in the Palestinian Territories, nevertheless announced “the transfer of 200,000 liters of fuel to international organizations” via Kerem Shalom.

However, observes Sylvain Groulx, emergency coordinator of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Gaza, we must “understand that when more than two thirds of the hospitals or medical structures in Gaza have been either destroyed or partially destroyed, it still becomes more difficult to provide the population with the basic health services they sorely need.”

Egypt urged Hamas and Israel on Friday to show “flexibility”, after the end of indirect talks without an agreement the day before in Cairo, while the efforts of the mediating countries (Egypt, Qatar, United States) “continue » with a view to a truce, according to the Egyptian media Al-Qahera News.

AFP

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