War between Israel and Hamas: Palestinians ordered the evacuation of parts of Rafah as the attack approaches

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military ordered about 100,000 Palestinians on Monday to begin evacuating from The city of Rafah in the southWhich suggests that a long-promised ground invasion may be imminent and further complicates efforts to broker a ceasefire in Gaza.

The looming operation in the city – where more than a million Palestinians are seeking refuge and a high death toll is feared – has worsened the situation. Raised the global alarm Israel’s closest allies have warned about this. The United Nations agency serving Palestinian refugees said on Monday that it would not comply with the evacuation order.

Israel described the Rafah crossing as the last important crossing Hamas stronghold after about seven months of warHe has repeatedly said that the invasion is necessary to defeat the Armed Islamic Group, which unleashed the current conflict with an attack on Israel on October 7.

But Hamas and the main mediator, Qatar, are wary of this Invasion of Rafah – along the border with Egypt – could hamper efforts by international mediators to broker a ceasefire.

Lieutenant Colonel Nadav Shoshani, army spokesman, said that about 100,000 people had received orders to move to a nearby humanitarian zone declared by Israel called My condolences – A temporary tent camp where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians along the coast sought safety and lived in squalid conditions.

Shoshani said that Israel was preparing for a “limited-scale operation” and did not say whether this was the beginning of a broader invasion of the city. Israel has never officially announced the launch of its current ground invasion in Gaza.

Plumes of smoke were seen rising from Rafah on Monday afternoon, although the cause is unclear.

Tensions escalated on Sunday when Hamas fired rockets at Israeli forces stationed on the border with Gaza, near Israel’s main crossing into Israel. Delivering much-needed humanitarian aidResulting in the killing of four soldiers. Israel has closed the crossing – but Shoshani said that would not affect the amount of aid entering Gaza while others work.

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He did not mention whether the upcoming operation was a response to this attack. Meanwhile, Israeli air strikes on Rafah killed 22 people, including children and two infants, according to a hospital.

Shoshani said that Israel published a map of the evacuation area, and that orders were issued through airdrops, text messages, and radio broadcasts. He said that Israel has expanded humanitarian aid to Al-Mawasi, including field hospitals, tents, food and water.

The Israeli army said on the social media platform X that it would act with “excessive force” against the militants, urging residents to evacuate immediately for their safety.

Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, condemned the “forced and illegal” evacuation order and the idea that people should go to Moasi.

“The area is really sprawling and devoid of vital services,” Egeland said.

About 1.4 million Palestinians, more than half of Gaza’s population, live at the Rafah crossing and its surrounding areas. Most of them have fled their homes elsewhere in the Strip to escape the Israeli attack and now face another painful move or the risk of remaining under a new attack.

They live in overcrowded camps, overcrowded UN shelters or in crowded apartments, relying on international aid for food, with broken sanitation systems and medical facility infrastructure.

Palestinians in Rafah said people gathered to discuss their options after receiving the leaflets.

“A lot of people have been displaced here and now they have to move again, but no one will stay here, the situation is unsafe,” Nidal al-Zaanin told The Associated Press by phone.

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Al-Zaanin, a father of five children, works for an international relief organization and fled to Rafah from Beit Hanoun in the north at the beginning of the war. He said people were worried because the Palestinians said that She had been shot at during previous evacuations. Israel denies shooting civilians.

Al-Zaanin said that he had packed his documents and bags but would wait 24 hours to see what others would do before moving on. He said he has a friend in Khan Yunis and hopes he can set up a tent for his family.

The United Nations agency that has helped millions of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank for decades, known as UNRWA, warned Monday of the devastating consequences of the attack on Rafah, including more civilian suffering and deaths. Juliette Thoma, communications director for the agency, which has thousands of employees in the city, said it has not evacuated residents and has no plans to do so.

The Egyptian Rafah crossing, the main transfer point for aid heading to Gaza, is located in the evacuation zone. The crossing remained open on Monday after the Israeli order.

The war broke out because An unprecedented raid on October 7 on southern Israel Hamas and other militants killed about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and kidnapped about 250 hostages.

The ensuing conflict killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, according to local health officials. This number does not distinguish between civilians and combatants, but officials say at least Two-thirds of the dead were children and women. It left a swath of devastation in Gaza, and about 80% of the Strip’s population fled to other parts of the besieged coastal enclave.

Recently, pressure to end the war has increased. Even as the United States, Egypt and Qatar sought to reach a ceasefire agreement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated last week that the army would move towards the city. Regardless of whether a truce agreement was reached in exchange for the hostages.

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On Monday, Netanyahu accused Hamas of “torpedoing” the agreement and not backing down from its “extremist demands” while vowing to prevent militants from regaining control of Gaza.

A Hamas official told the Associated Press that Israel is trying to pressure the movement to make concessions on the ceasefire, but it will not change its demands. Hamas wants a complete end to the war, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, and the eventual reconstruction of the Strip in exchange for the release of Israeli hostages held by the movement.

In Rafah, people received leaflets Monday morning in Arabic detailing which neighborhoods they had to leave, and said assistance services would be provided in other cities.

The army said in the evacuation order it issued to residents: “The Israeli army is about to act forcefully against terrorist organizations in the area where you currently live.” “Anyone in the area is putting themselves and their family members at risk.”

But some people say they are so exhausted and tired of the months of devastation they can’t escape again.

Sahar Abu Nahl fled to Rafah with 20 members of her family.

“Where am I going to go? I have no money or anything. I am so tired, like my children,” she said, wiping the tears from her cheeks. “Maybe it would be more honorable for us to die. “We are being humiliated.”

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Marwa reported from Beirut.

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