Israel orders the expulsion of Gazans from several areas of Rafah

Israel-Gaza war has been ongoing since October 7 (File)

Israel on Saturday called on Palestinians in several areas of Gaza’s southern city of Rafah to evacuate to what it called an expanded humanitarian zone in al-Mawasi. Rafa.

In a post on the social media site X, the military spokesman called on residents and displaced people in northern Gaza’s Jabaliya area, as well as residents of 11 other neighborhoods, to immediately move to areas west of Gaza City.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said at least 37 Palestinians, 24 of them from the central Gaza Strip, were killed in overnight airstrikes across the enclave, including Rafah.

„They threw flyers on Rafah, and it’s safe from Rafah to Al-Jawaida, people have to leave, what did they do? What did they do? The bodies were mutilated? There is no safe place in Gaza,” said Kitam al-Khatib, at a family home earlier Saturday. He told Reuters that he had lost at least 10 of his relatives in the airstrikes.

Al-Jaweda is a small town in the central Gaza Strip that is overflowing with thousands of displaced people from across the enclave.

The Israeli military said its aircraft had struck tens of thousands of targets across the Strip over the past day, adding that its ground forces had cleared militants in Zeytoun in recent hours.

An Israeli airstrike killed at least seven people, all from the same family, in a house in Beit Lahia town in the northern Gaza Strip, doctors said.

In Rafah, residents told Reuters of new evacuation orders from the Israeli army covering areas in the city’s center.

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„The situation is very difficult and people are leaving their homes in panic,” said Khalid, 35, a resident of Shapura neighborhood where the new evacuation orders have been issued.

The Israeli military said it was continuing operations against Hamas militants in eastern Rafah and the Gazan area of ​​the Rafah crossing.

Despite intense US pressure and warnings from civilian and humanitarian groups, Israel has said it will continue its incursion into Rafah, home to more than 1 million displaced people during the seven-month war.

Israeli tanks seized the main road that separates Rafah’s east and west on Friday in an offensive that encircled the eastern quarter, prompting Washington to cut off some military aid to its ally.

Israel says it cannot win the war without uprooting the thousands of Hamas fighters it believes are stationed in Rafah.

Some 300,000 Gazans have so far moved toward al-Mawasi, according to Israeli military estimates released on Saturday.

The war was sparked by a Hamas-led attack on southern Israel on October 7 that killed about 1,200 people and took more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli calculations.

Israel’s military operation in Gaza has killed 35,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s health ministry. The bombing has devastated the coastal region and caused a deep humanitarian crisis.

Two crossing points critical to the delivery of aid to Gaza remained closed on Saturday: the Palestinian WAFA news agency said the Rafah crossing was closed for a fifth day, while another crossing, Kerem Shalom, remained closed for a week.

The latest evacuation orders came hours after internationally-brokered ceasefire talks appeared to be faltering, with Hamas rejecting Israel’s cease-fire deal and returning things to square one.

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The Palestinian group Hamas has also indicated that it is reconsidering its negotiating policy. It did not elaborate on whether the review would tighten the terms for reaching a deal, but said it would consult with other coalition groups.

Israel says it wants to reach a deal to release the hostages in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners it is holding, but is not ready to end the military offensive.

’exhausted’

In Deir al-Bala in the central Gaza Strip, where hundreds of thousands of people have taken refuge, Palestinians mourned relatives during funerals on Saturday.

„Here, in pieces, here is my sister-in-law, without a head, my aunt without a head, what injustice is this? How long will this happen? We are tired, by God we are tired, I have been living in tents for the past seven months,” said Khatib, who died. He sat next to bodies covered in white aprons bearing the names of men and women.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is under increasing pressure over its military campaign, including from longtime ally the United States.

The Biden administration said on Friday that Israel’s use of US-supplied weapons during Israel’s Gaza operation may have violated international humanitarian law, a move that has to this day been fiercely critical of Israel.

But the administration stopped short of a definitive assessment, saying the confusion of the war meant it could not verify specific cases in which the use of those weapons may have been involved in the alleged violations.

(Other than the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)

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