Article Image

IPFS News Link • Israel - Palestine

Israel Prepares For Rafah Assault That Could Lead To "Tens Of Thousands" Of Casualties...

•, by Tyler Durden

With any hopes for a Israel-Hamas ceasefire now dead, overnight Israeli air strikes killed 17 people in Rafah on the Gaza border medics said on Saturday, as over a million Palestinians crammed into the city await a full-scale offensive with the rest of the enclave in ruins and nowhere left to run.

As reported yesterday, four months into the war in Gaza, Israeli PM Netanyahu's office said it ordered the army to prepare to evacuate civilians from Rafah - a city in Gaza's far south where more than one million displaced Palestinians have taken refuge, many sheltering in tents pushed up against the border with Egypt and the sea - ahead of a planned ground operation against four Hamas batallions it says are deployed in the city; on Saturday, the Israeli military said the air force killed two Hamas operatives in Rafah. The assault is set to escalate substantially, with Israeli Channel 13 news reporting that Netanyahu has requested the remobilization of reserve soldiers for the military operation.

Gaza's Hamas rulers warned on Saturday that Israeli operations in Rafah could cause "tens of thousands" of casualties in the city. The office of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said the move "threatens security and peace in the region in the world" and is "a blatant violation of all red lines".

Meanwhile, the Israeli military has been dropping leaflets over Rafah advising the civilians of the upcoming military operation and advising them to move safe locations, although it isn't clear where the Palestinians can move to.

While in prior Israeli assaults on Gaza's cities the military ordered civilians to flee south, now that they are effectively pressing against the border with Egypt, there is no obvious place for them to go and aid agencies have said large numbers could die.

"Any Israeli incursion in Rafah means massacres, means destruction. People are filling every inch of the city and we have nowhere to go," said Rezik Salah, 35, who fled his Gaza City home with his wife and two children for Rafah early in the war.