Israel ordered new evacuations in Rafah to expand its offensive – Liberation

Ignoring several international calls, Israel is preparing to extend its ground offensive to Rafah. This Saturday, May 11, the Israeli army called on residents of several additional neighborhoods in the congested city in southern Gaza to evacuate. “Expanded Humanitarian Zone” Al-Mawasi, according to a message published in Arabic by an IDF spokesman on X.

“Other Neighborhoods” than those who have been evacuated in recent days “There has been a spate of terrorist activity by Hamas in recent days and weeks.”Avichai reassures Atrai, urging the residents to evacuate “immediately”. A message was also broadcast on the ground through leaflets, text messages and voice messages sent by the Israeli military.

In the same message published on “For shelters immediately west of Gaza City”. “You are in a dangerous war zone. Hamas is trying to rebuild its capacity in the region. Refers to a press release warning that the IDF will act “with great power” in the region. “Everyone in these areas is putting themselves and their families at risk. It is written.

The orders are for the European Union to evacuate civilians trapped in Rafah to dangerous areas “Unacceptable”, This Saturday evening the President of the European Council criticized Charles Michel. “We urge the Israeli government to respect international humanitarian law and refrain from ground operations in Rafah.” He added to X.

Chaotic escape

On Tuesday, the Israeli army captured the Palestinian side of the Rafah border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. “Precise and targeted operation” Against the Islamic movement, After ordering the evacuation of the eastern districts of the city the previous day. In a sign of the chaos and uncertainty there, the IDF said this Saturday that some 300,000 Palestinians had left Rafah for the al-Mawasi area since Monday. UN responsible for Palestinian refugees The agency UNRWA estimated that “150,000 people have fled Rafah since Monday, seeking safety in a no-man’s land” 300,000 people have been affected by evacuation orders in the north and south of Gaza.

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“About 30,000 people are leaving [Rafah] every day”, the head of the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for Gaza, Georgios Petropoulos, pointed out in his role on Friday. Most of them “Had to travel five or six times already” The start of the war was sparked by a bloody terrorist attack by Hamas on October 7 in southern Israel.

By all means, on foot, in donkey carts, cars or trucks, fleeing with few personal belongings, most of these citizens sought refuge in the so-called “Extended Humanitarian Zone” ten kilometers from Al-Mawasi. Rafa. Humanitarian workers at the site condemn the living conditions there “Terrible”.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned of a massive ground assault on Rafah, while the IDF’s takeover of the Rafah crossing has blocked a key entry point for humanitarian aid convoys, and fighting and bombings have further complicated the work of NGOs. lead to a “The Greatest Humanitarian Disaster”. On Saturday, intense airstrikes targeted the area near the crossing with Egypt, witnesses said. Other bombings took place in the northern Gaza Strip.

“Destroy” Hamas at Any Cost

So far, Israel’s incursions into Rafah have not reached the level of a large-scale ground offensive that the Jewish state and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been touting for weeks. But this new call for evacuation comes after a first phase in East Rafah, where violent clashes pitted Israeli soldiers and Hamas fighters against Hamas fighters in recent days, and the IDF now wants to extend it. “Precise Counter-Terrorism” In many parts of central Rafah. Earlier, no doubt, there was a gradual advance across the city, where the Israeli army believes the remaining forces of Hamas and its leaders, including Yahya Shinwar, are hiding.

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Since October 7, the Israeli army has been on a full-scale offensive in the Gaza Strip. “destroy” On the Israeli side, Hamas claimed responsibility for the massacre, which left more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, at any cost. More than 250 people have been abducted and 128 held captive in Gaza, of whom 36 have died, according to Tel Aviv. Israel’s unprecedented retaliation has left nearly 35,000 people dead in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to Gazan officials, who did not distinguish between civilian and militant deaths.

The months-long talks in Doha and Cairo, mediated by Egypt, Qatar and the United States, aimed to reach a ceasefire that would allow for a break in the fighting, the release of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, and mass immigration. Humanitarian aid into the Palestinian territories, 80% destroyed, has so far been unsuccessful. A new session of talks ended without an agreement in the Egyptian capital on Thursday.

Futile pressure from Biden

In his campaign for re-election, US President Joe Biden, a key supporter of Israel, faces the impossible challenge of reuniting the Democratic coalition that brought him to the White House in 2020, now fractured by America’s role in the ongoing carnage in Gaza. From Congress to the universities, many voices in the Democratic camp are calling for an end to US military aid to the Jewish state.

For weeks, Joe Biden and his administration have stepped up calls for restraint and urged Benjamin Netanyahu not to carry out his threat of a major ground offensive in Rafah. During an interview with CNN on Wednesday evening, the Democratic leader matched his words with actions, specifically confirming that he would not provide offensive weapons to his Israeli ally. “Bombs and Artillery Shells” If there is a major attack in Rafah. Immediately drawing sharp criticism from Israelis and Republican opponents.

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On Friday, the White House said it was looking into it “concerned” Israeli military operations were ongoing in Rafah, while they were limited at this point and therefore did not cross the red line drawn by Washington. “I wouldn’t say that what we’ve seen in the last twenty-four hours represents a full-scale invasion or a major ground operation.”National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.

The Israeli call launched this Saturday for new evacuations in Rafah seems to illustrate, from this perspective, once again Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal to allow his behavior to be dictated by Washington. “If we must stand alone, we will stand alone. I have already said, if necessary, we will fight with our claws.He insisted on Thursday.

Update 4:57 pm Heavy strikes in Rafah on Saturday; At 8:13 p.m. with Charles Michael’s commitment.

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