Palestine: Israeli Drives Rafah Residents Away From Their Homes

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The Israeli military has told residents in more parts of the southern city of Rafah to relocate to an “expanded humanitarian area.” Follow DW for the latest.

Israel has told more people in parts of Gaza’s southern city of Rafah to relocate as it prepares to expand its military operation.

The Israeli military also says it is moving into an area in northern Gaza, where it says Hamas has regrouped.

Fighting has intensified across the enclave with heavy clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian militants outside Rafah.

Meanwhile, a US State Department report has found that Israel has likely broken international norms amid the conflict but not sufficiently to withhold weapons supplies.

Army continues operations in Rafah

Israel’s military says that it is continuing operations in the eastern part of the city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip.

It said that it had killed several Hamas militants over the past 24 hours.

Israel’s forces are still active on the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, the military said.

The Israeli army also said that rockets were launched from Rafah towards the Kerem Shalom crossing into Israel.

It said that one rocket was intercepted by Israeli forces and the “rest fell in open areas” near the crossing, adding that no injuries were reported.

Israel’s offensive kills 28 in past 24 hours

Israel’s offensive in Gaza has killed 28 people in the past 24 hours, according to the Hamas-run territory’s Health Ministry. 

Overall Israel Defense Forces operations in the territory have killed more than 34,971 Palestinians since October 7, mostly women and children, a ministry statement said.

The UN and multiple humanitarian organizations consider the casualty numbers supplied by the ministry broadly reliable.

The IDF launched a ground offensive in Gaza after the militant Hamas group staged an attack on southern Israel on October 7, resulting in the deaths of some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and the kidnapping of around 200 more. 

Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by Israel, the US and Germany, among others.

Israel widens ‘dangerous combat zone’ in Rafah

Israel has told residents from more areas of the southern Gaza city of Rafah to evacuate and head to an “expanded humanitarian area” in Al-Mawasi, to the north. 

Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee told Palestinians in additional parts of eastern Rafah — the Rafah and Shaboura camps, and the neighborhoods of Al-Adari, Al-Jeneina, and Khirbet Al-Adas — to leave their homes and head to the coastal area.

He also urged people in the Jabaliya and Beit Lahiya districts of northern Gaza to relocate to “shelters west of Gaza City.”

Adraee warned that heavy strikes were likely in these areas. 

“You are in a dangerous combat zone,” Adraee posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter on Saturday. “Hamas is trying to rebuild its capabilities in the region, and therefore the IDF will work with great force against the terrorist organizations in the region in which you are located, and therefore everyone who is in those areas exposes themselves and their families to danger.”

Fighting has escalated across the Gaza Strip, with heavy clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian militants on the outskirts of Rafah and in the north. 

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on Friday estimated that as many as 110,000 had already fled Rafah.

Previously, the UN had estimated that more than a million people fled south to Rafah during the earlier months of the conflict, when Israeli military operations were more focused on northern Gaza.

US says Israel broke norms, but can still alow arms shipments

A US State Department report says Israel is likely to have broken international legal norms in its use of weapons supplied by Washington — but crucially ruled that there was not enough evidence to block shipments.

The Department submitted its report two days after President Joe Biden publicly threatened to withhold certain bombs and artillery shells should Israel press ahead with an all-out assault on Rafah.

Washington has repeatedly voiced concern over the civilian impact of Israel’s war against Hamas Palestinian militants.

This week’s threat was the first time Biden had publicly warned of potentially restricting its military exports to Israel, which total roughly $3 billion annually, in this manner.