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Palestinians flee eastern Rafah amid Israel plans to invade

May 6, 2024 at 1:46 pm

Hundreds of Palestinians hit the roads with the few items they could take with them following the Israeli army’s announcement to evacuate some neighbourhoods east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 06, 2024 [Doaa Albaz/Anadolu Agency]

Hundreds of Palestinians began fleeing from areas east of Rafah amid Israeli plans to invade the city in the southern Gaza Strip, according to witnesses, Anadolu news agency reported.

Witnesses said those fleeing had begun to move toward central and western Rafah, west of Khan Younis and north of Deir Al-Balah.

The Israeli army issued immediate “evacuation orders” today for Palestinians in the eastern neighbourhoods of Rafah and called on them to move to Khan Yunus, a city which lies in ruins after Israel’s ground invasion and where there are no facilities to support life, including water supplies, or even clear areas for refugees to set up tents.

Israeli Army Radio claimed around 100,000 Palestinian civilians are living in the areas that have been ordered to be vacated. Israel, however, often underestimates the number of Palestinian civilians, claiming all males are “combatants”. Though international aid agencies have warned that 1.5 million Palestinian civilians are at risk if Israel launched a ground invasion into Gaza’s southernmost city, Tel Aviv has said the number is closer to one million, and claims an offensive in the area is necessary to beat the Palestinians resistance and “release the hostages”.

These claims have, however, been refuted, as only yesterday Hamas agreed to the terms of a ceasefire which included the release of hostages, however Israel said it will press ahead with its military operations in Gaza.

Critics have said this is further proof that its offensive is genocidal and that Israel’s declared military goals are mere words.

Tel Aviv has killed more than 34,700 Palestinians and wounded 77,700 others amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities in the Palestinian Territory.

More than seven months into the Israeli bombing campaign, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins, pushing 85 per cent of the enclave’s population into internal displacement besides a crippling blockade on food, clean water and medicine, 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: 26 killed as Israeli warplanes strike several houses in Rafah