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Israel to expand 'humanitarian zone' in Gaza ahead of Rafah ground attack

April 22, 2024 at 3:49 pm

A woman and child walk past tents at a camp for displaced Palestinians in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 14, 2024 [-/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel is preparing to expand a “humanitarian zone” for Palestinian civilians ahead of a planned ground offensive in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Israeli media said on Monday, Anadolu Agency reports.

According to Israeli Army Radio, the humanitarian zone will extend from the southern town of Al-Mawasi along the coastal strip to the outskirts of Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.

“The humanitarian zone will accommodate around one million people,” the broadcaster said.

Five field hospitals have been established in the area, in addition to the already operating hospitals there, the radio said.

Despite growing global opposition, Israel has approved plans to launch a ground offensive on Rafah, where more than 1.5 million people have taken refuge from Israel’s brutal onslaught on the Gaza Strip.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since the cross-border attack by the Palestinian group, Hamas, on 7 October last year, which Tel Aviv says killed nearly 1,200 people.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

At least 34,151 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and 77,000 others injured amid mass destruction and severe shortages of necessities.

The Israeli war on Gaza has pushed 85 per cent of the Territory’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60 per cent of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which, in January, issued an interim ruling that ordered it to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

READ: Official: 2,000 Palestinians missing after Israel army withdrew from Gaza