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Israeli military expands operations in Rafah, situation deteriorates to dire levels

Israeli military expands operations in Rafah, situation deteriorates to dire levels

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have instructed residents of central Rafah to evacuate, signalling a significant intensification of the offences in the already embattled Gaza Strip. This move threatens to displace hundreds of thousands more people, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation.

Last week, the IDF seized control of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, citing a need for a "precise, targeted operation." This followed the evacuation of eastern neighbourhoods, which forced over 150,000 residents to flee the southern city. Now, with fresh instructions to evacuate central Rafah, it appears that the IDF is poised for a major offensive, potentially impacting the entire city.

Eyewitnesses report Israeli tanks positioned on Salahuddin Road, dividing central Rafah from the already evacuated eastern neighbourhoods. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rebuffed US pressure to hold off the attack, citing the presence of Hamas leaders and forces in the area.

Leaflets distributed to residents urged evacuation from areas where Hamas and other groups have been active. These include the Rafah and Shaboura camps, as well as specific neighbourhoods in Blocks 6-9, 17, and 25-27. The IDF directed residents to an "expanded humanitarian area" in al-Mawasi, though reports indicate conditions there are horrific, with inadequate supplies of food, clean water, and healthcare.

The situation is dire for the displaced population of Rafah. Many have fled to the north or to al-Mawasi, overwhelming already strained resources. Those sheltering in the western part of Rafah, where approximately a million people sought refuge during the seven-month war, are now preparing to evacuate amid fears of an impending assault.

The humanitarian crisis is further compounded by the closure of the Rafah border crossing to Egypt and limited access to the Kerem Shalom crossing due to the ongoing fighting. Aid agencies, the lifeline for much of the city's population, are struggling to operate with dwindling supplies and a lack of access.

Fuel shortages have also crippled transportation and essential services, with agencies reporting less than 48 hours' worth of fuel supplies remaining. In al-Mawasi, where displaced persons have congregated, overcrowding and poor sanitation have led to the rapid spread of disease, compounding the already dire conditions.

Humanitarian organizations are sounding the alarm, warning of a catastrophic humanitarian crisis if immediate action is not taken to address the needs of the displaced population in Rafah

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TAGS:HamasGenocideIsrael Palestine ConflictIDFIsrael War on Gaza
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