Home News Israel sends more troops to Rafah amid famine warning in Gaza Strip

Israel sends more troops to Rafah amid famine warning in Gaza Strip


Israel said on Thursday it would send additional troops to Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah, which has become a focal point in the war between Israel and Hamas.

The announcement signals Israel’s intention to push further into Rafah, where more than a million displaced people have taken refuge, despite international concerns about the threat to civilians posed by a full-scale invasion of Rafah.

“Hundreds of targets have been attacked,” Israeli Defense Minister Yove Galant said after meeting with Rafah area commanders. “This operation will continue.”

Over the past week, Israel has described the offensive as a limited military operation, but satellite images Galante’s comments Thursday suggested a larger incursion has begun.

Rafah is the Gaza Strip’s most important logistics hub, serving as the gateway for most food, medicine and other aid to a population of 2.2 million. The fighting led to the closure of a crossing between Rafah and Egypt, at one point causing a significant reduction in traffic at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Rafah and Israel.

“The threat of famine in Gaza has never been greater,” the United Nations World Food Program warned this week.

As Israel pushes deeper into Rafah and resumes airstrikes and fighting in troubled northern Gaza, causing tens of thousands of other civilians to flee, it’s unclear where displaced Gazans will go and how food, medicine and other necessities will get in. Critics are growing across Gaza on issues such as and distribution.

Ra’fat Abu Tueima, 62, and his family have been forced to move six times since the war in Gaza began. On Thursday, he found himself huddled in the latest makeshift shelter in the war-torn city of Khan Younis, wondering how he would feed his nine children.

Abu Tueima was a taxi driver before the war. The United Nations estimates that 600,000 people have fled in and around the southern city of Rafah, where Israeli airstrikes are unfolding and tanks roar. Longdi went deep into the city. spread.

Abu Tueima, whose tent was pitched in the school courtyard, said he felt abandoned. “No one is offering us any help here,” he said, the stress of seven months of war bringing him to tears.

Abu Tuima said he fled Rafah last week and found some assistance there. But in Khan Younis, he felt hopeless. “No one asked about us,” he said. “No one cares about all the children and women here.”

Outside the school courtyard, several trucks carrying humanitarian aid rolled down the street on Thursday. The children tried to grab anything they could get their hands on and some even stole bags of candy.

As criticism of Israel’s military action grew on Thursday, South Africa urged an International Court of Justice judge to order a halt to ground attacks on Rafah, saying it put Palestinian life in the enclave at imminent risk of destruction.

The hearing comes after South Africa last week asked the court to resolve the issue. further restrictions Regarding Israeli military operations in Gaza. In documents disclosed in court, South Africa cited the “irreparable harm” caused by Israel’s invasion of Rafah.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that Israel’s actions in Rafah are part of an end game in which Gaza will be completely destroyed as an area fit for human habitation,” British lawyer Vaughan Lowe told the court. “This is the final step in the destruction of Gaza and its Palestinian people.”

Israel denies claims of genocide and says its latest attack east of Rafah was a “precision operation” targeting members of Hamas. A plea is expected to be heard in court on Friday.

In a promising development, the U.S. military on Thursday anchored a temporary dock off the Gaza coast to provide an additional entry point for humanitarian aid, but the system is still being tested.

U.S. Central Command said aid will be loaded onto trucks and will begin arriving “in the coming days.” in a statement Thursday morning. Officials said last week that the floating dock and causeway were complete, but weather conditions had delayed installation.

A US ship, the USS Sagamore, loaded with humanitarian aid. Departed last week From Cyprus to Gaza, Materials are loaded onto smaller vessels for transport to the docks. The United Nations will receive the shipment and oversee its distribution in Gaza, according to Central Command, which said U.S. troops will not set foot in the area.

Gen. Charles Q. Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that over the next two days, the U.S. military and humanitarian groups aim to load three to five trucks from the terminal and send them into Gaza for a test run.

“It’s probably going to take another 24 hours to make sure everything is ready,” Gen. Brown told reporters on Thursday on a flight to Brussels for a NATO meeting. “We have force protection in place, we have contract truckers on the other side, and we’ve got the force protection in place as well. These truckers provide the fuel.”

Officials said the Pentagon hopes the terminal will be able to provide enough assistance for about 90 trucks per day during the initial stages of operation, and will reach 150 trucks per day at full capacity.

Aid agencies and U.N. officials say Gaza needs at least about 500 to 600 trucks a day to meet its needs.

At a press conference on Thursday, Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Nadav Shoshani said supporting the temporary dock project was a “top priority.” He said the Israeli Navy and the 99th Division were supporting the effort through sea and land.

The Israeli military has so far described the operation in Rafah as a limited invasion. The United States and the European Union have both warned against a large-scale invasion there, saying humanitarian casualties would be too high.

Satellite images taken on Wednesday showed Israeli forces closing in on downtown Rafah. Collapsed buildings and debris were seen across the city’s east, in stark contrast to images from last week when only limited damage could be seen.

Many areas of Rafah, which a week ago were filled with tents and vehicles, were deserted on Wednesday.

Report contributors: victoria king, Nathan Odenheimer, Lauren Leatherby, Rawan Sheikh Ahmed, Helen Cooper, Gaya Gupta, Matthew M’Poke Biggar, Maris Simmons and Jonathan Rice.

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