May 22, 2024

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War between Israel and Hamas: Israel pushed deeper into Rafah, forcing about 300,000 people to flee

War between Israel and Hamas: Israel pushed deeper into Rafah, forcing about 300,000 people to flee

RAFAH (Gaza Strip) – Israeli forces were fighting Palestinian militants across the Gaza Strip on Sunday, including in parts of the devastated north, the army said. It was cleared months agoHamas took advantage of the security vacuum to reorganize its ranks.

Israel portrayed the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip as the last stronghold of Hamas, saying that it must invade it in order to succeed in achieving its goals of dismantling the group and returning dozens of hostages. The limited operation there has expanded in recent days, forcing about 300,000 people to flee and prompting warnings from Egypt, which an official said was setting the border in the country. Peace treaty with Israel decades ago in danger.

But the rest of the war-torn territory appears to offer great opportunities for Hamas. Israel has not yet presented a detailed plan for post-war governance in Gaza, saying only that it will do so Maintain open security control On the coastal strip, which is inhabited by about 2.3 million Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected post-war plans proposed by the United States for the Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, to rule Gaza with the support of Arab and Muslim countries. Those plans This depends on progress towards the establishment of a Palestinian state, which the Netanyahu government strongly opposes.

With the two close allies divided, Gaza was left without a functioning government, collapsing public order and allowing Hamas to reconstitute itself even in the most affected areas.

The war began when Hamas and other militants rose It attacked southern Israel on October 7Killing about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and taking 250 others hostage. They still hold about 100 prisoners and the remains of more than 30, and internationally-brokered talks on a ceasefire and hostage release appear to have stalled.

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The Israeli air, land and sea attack led to the death of more than 35,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants in its numbers. Israel says it killed more than 13,000 militants without providing evidence.

Heavy bombing in the north

Palestinians reported heavy Israeli shelling overnight in the Jabalia refugee camp and other areas in the northern Gaza Strip, which has been subjected to widespread destruction and has been largely isolated by Israeli forces for months. United Nations officials say there is “Total famine” there.

Palestinians mourn their relatives killed in the Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip in front of the Al-Aqsa Hospital morgue in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, on Saturday, May 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Palestinian paramedics treat a man injured in the Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip at Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, on Saturday, May 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Saher Alghorra)

Palestinian paramedics treat a man injured in the Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip at Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, on Saturday, May 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Saher Alghorra)

Residents said that Israeli warplanes and artillery bombed the camp and the Zaytoun area east of Gaza City, where Israeli forces have been fighting Palestinian activists for more than a week. They called on tens of thousands of people to move to neighboring areas.

“It was a very difficult night,” said Abdel Karim Radwan, a 48-year-old Palestinian from Jabalia. He added that they heard intense and continuous shelling since midday on Saturday. “This is madness.”

First responders from the Palestinian Civil Defense said they were unable to respond to multiple calls for assistance coming from the two areas, as well as from Rafah.

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Admiral Daniel Hagari, an IDF spokesman, said that in addition to Jabalia and Zeitun, forces are also operating in Beit Lahia and Beit Hanoun. The two cities near Gaza’s northern border with Israel were subjected to severe bombardment in the first days of the war.

Writer Ben Caspit wrote in the Israeli daily Maariv that the army “is now entering Jabalia for the second time and into Zeitoun for the third time, and will continue to enter and exit.” The growing frustration felt by many Israelis More than seven months of war.

“The Hamas regime cannot be overthrown without preparing an alternative to that regime,” he wrote, comparing the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “The only people who can govern Gaza after the war are the people of Gaza, with a lot of support and help from outside.”

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli air and ground attack on the Gaza Strip arrive at a temporary camp west of Rafah, Gaza, Friday, May 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli air and ground attack on the Gaza Strip arrive at a temporary camp west of Rafah, Gaza, Friday, May 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Civilians flee south

The United Nations Agency for Palestine Refugees, the main aid provider in Gaza, said 300 thousand people fled Rafah Since I started the process there. Most of them are heading to The neighboring city of Khan Yunis sustained severe damage Or Mawasi, a densely populated camp on the coast where some 450,000 people are already living in squalid conditions.

Rafah was home to about 1.3 million Palestinians before the start of the Israeli operation, most of whom fled fighting elsewhere in the Strip.

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Israel has now evacuated the eastern third of Rafah, and Hajari said dozens of militants were killed there as “targeted operations” continued. The United Nations has warned that the planned large-scale invasion of Rafah could lead to dire consequences Further paralyzing humanitarian operations Causing a high number of civilian deaths.

The Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt is located near the main aid entry points that have already been affected. The Israeli forces did Captured the Gaza side Rafah crossing, which led to its closure. The state-owned Cairo News Channel, citing an unnamed official, reported that Egypt refused to coordinate with Israel regarding the delivery of aid through the crossing due to the “unacceptable Israeli escalation.”

A senior Egyptian official told The Associated Press that Cairo has lodged protests with Israel, the United States and European governments, saying the attack puts the peace treaty with Israel — a cornerstone of regional stability — at great risk.

The official was not authorized to brief the media and spoke on condition of anonymity.

US President Joe Biden said that he would not provide offensive weapons to Israel in Rafah. His administration said on Friday that there was a “reasonable” Evidence that Israel violated international law Protection of Civilians – Washington’s strongest statement to date on this matter.

Israel rejects these accusations, saying it is trying to avoid harming civilians. It blames Hamas for the high death toll because the militants are fighting in dense residential areas. But the army rarely comments on individual strikes that often kill women and children.

The Gaza Health Ministry said an airstrike late Saturday in central Gaza killed Muhammad Qazaat and his son Youssef, both prominent local dentists.

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Kraus reported from Jerusalem and Magdy reported from Cairo.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the war on https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war