Sunday, May 19, 2024

Israel calls on Gazans to evacuate eastern suburbs of Rafah

The Israeli army, ignoring international outcries, has issued urgent evacuation orders to Palestinian residents and displaced individuals in several areas of eastern Rafah, urging them to immediately relocate to the town of Al-Mawasi.

“The Israeli army is expanding the humanitarian zone in Al-Mawasi and urging Palestinians to temporarily evacuate from the eastern neighborhoods of Rafah to the expanded humanitarian zone,” army spokesperson Avichay Adraee wrote on X.

“The expansion of the humanitarian zone in Al-Mawasi includes field hospitals, tents, large quantities of food, water, medicine, and other supplies,” he added.

“The army also allows collaboration with certain international organizations and other countries to expand the scope of humanitarian aid being delivered to the Gaza Strip,” he said, adding that “this process will proceed gradually based on ongoing assessments of the situation.”

“In this context, leaflets will be distributed, text messages and phone calls will be sent, and information is being broadcast through Arab media outlets,” Adraee continued.

“Army will continue working to achieve the objectives of the war, including dismantling Hamas and returning all Israeli hostages,” he added.

The military also posted maps on its social media accounts illustrating evacuation routes.

According to Army Radio, the decision to evacuate residents from eastern Rafah was taken late Sunday in cabinet session. It said that around 100,000 civilians believed to be present in the area set to be evacuated.

The international community has warned Israel that a military operation in Rafah would be “catastrophic”.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is said to have briefed his American counterpart Lloyd Austin on the decision to begin evacuation of residents from the southern city, home to 1.5 million displaced Palestinians who have taken refuge from the war that started after the Oct. 7, 2023 Hamas incursion that claimed around 1,200 lives and took 250 as hostages.

Since then, the Israeli onslaught has killed more than 34,600 Palestinians, mostly women and children, besides causing a humanitarian catastrophe.

Nearly seven months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins, pushing 85% of the enclave’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January said it is “plausible” that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza and ordered Tel Aviv to stop such acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians there.

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