Israeli tanks push into Gaza’s Rafah, as displaced civilians flee again (2024)

Israeli tanks forged deeper into eastern Rafah on Tuesday, reaching some residential districts of the southern border city where more than a million people had been sheltering after being displaced in seven months of war.

Israel’s international allies and aid groups have repeatedly urged against a ground incursion into refugee-packed Rafah, warning of a potential humanitarian catastrophe.

Qatar’s prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said Israel’s operations in Rafah have set back efforts at trying to reach a ceasefire in talks that are being mediated by Qatar and Egypt, although negotiations would continue.

Israel has vowed to press on into Rafah even without the support of allies, saying its operation is necessary to root out four remaining Hamas battalions holed up in the city.


Israeli tanks push into Gaza’s Rafah, as displaced civilians flee again

Gaza: Israeli troops advance north and south as Israel marks start of Independence Day

“The tanks advanced this morning west of Salahuddin Road into the Brzail and Jneina neighbourhoods. They are in the streets inside the built-up area and there are clashes,” one resident told Reuters via a chat app. Video on social media showed one tank on George Street in Al-Jneina neighbourhood. Reuters could not verify the video.

Hamas’s armed wing said it had destroyed an Israeli troop carrier with an Al-Yassin 105 missile in the eastern Al-Salam neighbourhood, killing some crew members and wounding others.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) declined to comment on the report.

In a round-up of its activities, the IDF said its forces had eliminated “several armed terrorist” cells in close-quarter fighting on the Gazan side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. In the east of the city, it said it had also destroyed militant cells and a launch post from where missiles were being fired at IDF troops.

Israel issued evacuation orders for people to move from parts of eastern Rafah a week ago, with a second round of orders extending to further zones on Saturday.

They are moving to empty tracts of land, including Al-Mawasi, a sandy strip bordering the coast that Israel has designated as a humanitarian area. Aid agencies have warned the zone lacks sanitary and other facilities to host an influx of displaced people.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (Unrwa), the main United Nations aid agency in Gaza, estimates some 450,000 people have fled Rafah since May 6th.

“People face constant exhaustion, hunger and fear. Nowhere is safe,” the agency posted on X.

[Gaza: Israeli troops advance north and south as Israel marks start of Independence Day]

The war has pushed much of Gaza’s population to the brink of famine, the U.N. says, and has devastated its medical facilities, where hospitals, if working at all, are running short of fuel to power generators and other essential supplies.

James Smith, a British emergency room doctor volunteering in hospitals in southern Gaza, said that he had been told by a World Health Organisation official that some emergency fuel had made it into the strip.

“Health is still being prioritised over other essential services, so when health looks a bit better it generally means other essential services are struggling,” he told Reuters via a WhatsApp voice note. “It’s a zero-sum game.”

However, big hospitals, including Al-Aqsa, should have enough fuel for six days if it was managed frugally, he said.

Fighting across the strip has intensified in recent days, including in the north, with the Israeli military heading back into areas where it had claimed to have dismantled Hamas months ago. Israel says the operations are to prevent Hamas, which controls Gaza, from rebuilding it military capacities.

The Palestinian death toll in the war has now surpassed 35,000, according to Gaza health officials, whose figures do not differentiate between civilians and fighters. It said that 82 Palestinians were killed in the past 24 hours, the highest death toll in a single day in many weeks.

Israel launched its operation in Gaza following the devastating attack on Oct. 7 by Hamas-led gunmen who rampaged through Israeli communities around the enclave, killing around 1,200 people and taking more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israeli tanks push into Gaza’s Rafah, as displaced civilians flee again (5)

Gun battles between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen were the fiercest in months, according to residents, both in the north and south of the densely populated enclave of 2.3 million people.

In the Zeitoun neighbourhood of Gaza City in the north, bulldozers demolished clusters of houses to make a new road for tanks to roll through into the eastern suburb.

In northern Gaza’s Jabilia, a sprawling refugee camp built for displaced Palestinians 75 years ago, residents said Israeli forces were trying to reach as deep as the camp’s local market under heavy tank shelling.

The IDF said it had killed dozens of Hamas fighters in Jabilia and dismantled a network of explosives, while in Zeitoun it located tunnel shafts and destroyed several rocket launchers.

With fighting intensifying, Qatar’s Sheikh Mohammed said ceasefire talks were at a stalemate.

“There is one party that wants to end the war and then talk about the hostages and there is another party who wants the hostages and wants to continue the war. As long as there is not any commonality between those two things it won’t get us to a result,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

Meanwhile, the White House has condemned an attack on an aid convoy heading to Gaza by Israeli settlers who threw packages of food into the road and set fire to the vehicles.

Video of the incident on Monday at Tarqumiya checkpoint, west of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, showed settlers blocking the trucks and throwing boxes of much-needed supplies on the ground. Photographs from the scene showed piles of damaged aid packages and drifts of rice and flour across the road.

Israeli tanks push into Gaza’s Rafah, as displaced civilians flee again (6)

Late on Monday, photos began circulating on social media showing the trucks on fire.

Israel has faced heavy international pressure to step up the flow of aid into Gaza, where international organisations have warned of a severe humanitarian crisis threatening a population of more than 2 million people.

“It is a total outrage that there are people who are attacking and looting these convoys coming from Jordan, going to Gaza to deliver humanitarian assistance,” US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters.

“We are looking at the tools that we have to respond to this,” he said. “We are also raising our concerns at the highest level of the Israeli government and it’s something that we make no bones about – this is completely and utterly unacceptable behaviour.”

Police do not appear to have intervened to stop the looting, though four people including a minor were later reported to have been arrested.

This is not the first time that settlers have tried to stop the flow of aid to Gaza, which is already only a fraction of that needed by the population of the embattled territory.

[Yahya Sinwar: The October 7th architect who is playing a key role in ceasefire negotiations]

Last week, Israeli demonstrators blocked a road near the desert town of Mitzpe Ramon to protest against the delivery of aid trucks into the strip. The protesters – who say the aid is helping Hamas and want to block its passage until all Israeli hostages are freed – formed a sit-in protest as they scattered rocks across the road to prevent vehicles from passing, creating standstill traffic.

Israel’s siege of Gaza has created what aid officials are referring to as “man-made starvation”, with the territory facing the threat of mass deaths from famine with children already dying from hunger.

In March, the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to allow unimpeded access of food aid into Gaza, where sections of the population are facing imminent starvation.

Aid efforts have been further complicated by the temporary closure of the headquarters of the main channel for humanitarian support for Palestinians after weeks of violent protests and arson attacks by Israeli right-wingers. – Reuters/Guardian

Israeli tanks push into Gaza’s Rafah, as displaced civilians flee again (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Domingo Moore

Last Updated:

Views: 5765

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (53 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Domingo Moore

Birthday: 1997-05-20

Address: 6485 Kohler Route, Antonioton, VT 77375-0299

Phone: +3213869077934

Job: Sales Analyst

Hobby: Kayaking, Roller skating, Cabaret, Rugby, Homebrewing, Creative writing, amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Domingo Moore, I am a attractive, gorgeous, funny, jolly, spotless, nice, fantastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.