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Israel to buy 40,000 tents for Rafah evacuation

April 9, 2024 at 4:06 pm

Displaced Palestinians gather to break their fast at a communal table set up amidst the tents as mass iftar dinner organised for displaced Palestinians in Rafah, Gaza on March 27, 2024 [Jehad Alshrafi – Anadolu Agency]

The Israeli defence ministry is buying 40,000 tents ahead of its forced evacuation of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, Reuters has reported. The occupation state has said that it plans to carry out a ground offensive in the city with the aim of killing what it believes are the remaining battalions of the Hamas armed wing, Al-Qassam Brigades, Israeli media said on Tuesday.

There was no immediate confirmation from the defence ministry about the purchase, which the Jerusalem Post, one of a number that reported the news, said was leaked without a formal announcement.

News of the planned purchase of the tents, each of which can shelter 12 people, was one of the first signs of concrete preparations for an evacuation of Rafah, where more than one million displaced Palestinians have been sheltering.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly flagged plans to invade Rafah, the only city in Gaza that has not faced a major ground assault. According to the Israel occupation forces, four Hamas battalions remain in Rafah as well as an unknown number of senior commanders of the resistance movement. In the past, Israel has said that the battalions each have around 1,000 fighters.

Prior to any assault, the Israeli army has said it will evacuate the civilian population to so-called “humanitarian islands” in central Gaza, where food, water and medical facilities will be available. However, the Palestinians have been duped by such Israeli promises before. Survivors of the scorched earth policy in northern Gaza were told to move south along so-called safe corridors, only for many to be bombed and killed as they did so. Sceptics wonder how much support these “humanitarian islands” will actually provide, and how much will be there for purely propaganda purposes.

The plans to assault Rafah have drawn widespread condemnation and even Israel’s closest ally the United States has warned Netanyahu that the country would face global isolation if it goes ahead.

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