Palestinians Flee Rafah Over Planned Invasion By Isreal

Lopetegui

Residents of Palestinian city of Rafah has started fleeing as the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) appears set to carry out its threat of invasion, following the collapse of truce talks in the ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza.

The Israeli Government has blamed the militant Hamas group for the deadlocked negotiations and ordered the people in Rafah to evacuate the city even as about 100,000 people have started leaving.

The long-threatened assault on Rafah is coming at a time of intense global pressure on Israel to shelve its planned assault on the city in Southern Gaza fearing the humanitarian crisis it will unleash on civilians.

Israel said the attack on Rafah was necessary to defeat Hamas which has made the city its command centre for its fighters.

Many people in Rafah had fled into the city as Israeli forces attacked other parts of Gaza.

The IDF had on Monday called on the people in Rafah to evacuate to “an expanded humanitarian area”.

The Israeli military said in social media posts that it “encourages” residents in eastern Rafah to move to an area in al-Mawasi Refugee Camp, located by the Mediterranean West of Khan Younis.

The army said calls to “temporarily” relocate would be “conveyed through flyers, SMS messages, phone calls and media broadcasts in Arabic”.

“Israeli forces will continue pursuing Hamas everywhere in Gaza until all the hostages that they are holding in captivity are back home,” it said.

However, a Hamas official, Sami Abu Zuhri, told Reuters that Israel’s evacuation order and expected offensive is a “dangerous escalation that will have consequences.”

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