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Israel wants to “intensify” its offensive in Rafah

Israel announced Thursday its intention to "intensify" his ground offensive &agrav; Rafah despite community fears international assistance for the civilian population in this overcrowded town in the south of the Gaza Strip.

In the eighth month of the war opposing Israel to the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, the Israeli army says it has been carrying out “targeted” ground operations in Rafah for around ten days, accompanied by bombings, with the objective announced to annihilate the last Hamas battalions there.

An Israeli military spokesperson, Nadav Shoshani, indicated that “there are hostages in Rafah”, in reference to those kidnapped during the unprecedented October 7 Hamas attack in Israel, which sparked the war. “We are operating to create the conditions to bring them home,” he told journalists.

“Additional troops will enter” Rafah and “(military) activity will intensify,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said.

– Temporary pier in Gaza –

Since the army ordered civilians to leave eastern areas of Rafah on May 6 in anticipation of a major ground offensive , “600,000 people have fled,” according to the UN. Some 1.4 million people, residents and people displaced by the fighting, were so far in this city on the closed border with Egypt.

Civilians continue to flee eastern Rafah and others are preparing to evacuate other areas of the city.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu estimated that “the humanitarian catastrophe” in Rafah, feared by the international community, had been avoided by Israel, saying that “nearly half a million people had evacuated the fighting zone”.

Entering with tanks in the Rafah sector on May 7, the army is deployed on the Palestinian side of the crossing point with Egypt, crucial for bringing in fuel , essential for the operation of infrastructure and humanitarian logistics.

Israel wants to “intensify” its offensive in Rafah

The Israeli army announced Thursday the death of five soldiers killed the day before by “friendly fire” during fighting in the northern Gaza Strip. © AFP – JACK GUEZ

Nothing has entered through Rafah since, and Egypt and Israel blame each other. Humanitarian aid is also largely blocked at the crossing with Israel, Kerem Shalom.

Help should however arrive “in the coming days” after the United States docked a temporary pier at the Gaza beach on Thursday, according to the US military Middle East Command (Centcom). Around 500 tons of humanitarian aid will be transported to Gaza via this pier, according to the same source.

– “Genocide” –

The UN and NGOs regularly warn of a risk of famine in the Gaza Strip, where some 2.4 million inhabitants live, 70% of whom have been displaced.

Israel wants to “intensify” its offensive in Rafah

Palestinians who fled Rafah arrive in Khan Younes, in the south of the Gaza Strip, May 15, 2024 © AFP – –

On October 7, Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza in southern Israel carried out an attack which resulted in the death of more than 1,170 people, mainly civilians, according to an AFP report established using official Israeli data. . More than 250 people were kidnapped during the attack and 128 remain captive in Gaza, of whom 36 are believed to have died, according to the army.

The vast offensive launched in response by Israel devastated the Gaza Strip, where 35,272 people were killed, mostly civilians, according to a latest report from the Hamas Ministry of Health.

At least 39 Additional deaths have been recorded in the last 24 hours, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health, while aerial bombardments were carried out overnight across the Gaza Strip, including Gaza City, Jabalia (north), Nousseirat (center ), according to witnesses and doctors.

The Israeli army announced the death of five soldiers killed Wednesday by “friendly fire” during fighting in Jabalia. A total of 278 Israeli soldiers have been killed since Israeli troops entered the Palestinian territory on October 27.

Before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, South Africa, which is asking judges to order Israel to stop its incursion in Rafah, told the UN's highest court that “the genocide” committed by Israel had reached “a horrific level “.

Pretoria lawyers, who are calling on judges to order a ceasefire in Gaza, kick off two days of hearings .

– “Forced displacements” –

Israel wants to “intensify” its offensive in Rafah

Satellite image released by Maxar Technologies, May 15, 2024, showing tents of displaced Palestinians in the Mawasi camp near Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip © Satellite image ©2024 Maxar Technologies – –

Israel, which rejects the South African accusations, will respond to them on Friday. He has previously stressed his “unwavering” commitment to upholding international law and described the case brought by Pretoria as “totally unfounded”.

Meeting in Manama, the summit Arab called for the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force in the territories occupied by Israel until the establishment of a Palestinian state, a state rejected by Mr. Netanyahu. He also called for an “immediate” ceasefire in Gaza and an end to the “forced displacements” of Palestinians.

Israel wants to “intensify” its offensive in Rafah

Stopping the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza © AFP – Omar KAMAL, Gal ROMA

The war is also having repercussions on the border between Israel and Lebanon, where exchanges of fire between Israeli forces and Lebanese Hezbollah, a Hamas supporter, have increased in recent days.

Two Hezbollah members were killed in Israeli strikes in southern Lebanon, the movement said, after the Lebanese formation bombarded Israeli positions on the other side of the border.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116