Saturday, May 18th, 2024

Israel issues immediate evacuation notice to Gaza’s East Rafah residents

Israel’s military has issued an immediate evacuation notice to residents of eastern Rafah after the country’s defense minister warned of imminent “intense action” in the area, CNN reports.

Avichai Adrai, head of the Arab media division of the IDF spokesperson unit, urged residents to “immediately evacuate” to designated humanitarian zones at the checkpoints for their own safety. The call specifically targets individuals living in the neighborhoods of Al-Salam, Al-Jenina, Tiba Zara and Al-Bayouk in Al-Shawka municipality and Rafah region.

The announcement comes amid the ongoing bombardment of Gaza, which has seen widespread destruction since October 7. Many residents of Rafah, who have already been displaced multiple times, now face the prospect of further displacement amid the escalating conflict, CNN reported.

Humanitarian agencies have warned against a full-scale ground offensive on Rafah, which could lead to suffering and casualties among the 1.2 million displaced Palestinians in and around the city. As the World Food Program has underlined, northern Gaza is already suffering from severe famine, which has been worsened by months of conflict.

IDF international spokesman Colonel Nadav Shoshani described the evacuation as a “limited scope operation”, aimed at temporary relocation rather than mass evacuation.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant’s comments to troops inside Gaza indicate preparations for intensified military action in Rafah and other areas.

This comes after the Kerem Shalom border crossing, a vital lifeline for humanitarian aid, was closed after it was targeted by rocket attacks claimed by Hamas’ military wing, resulting in IDF soldier casualties.

The decision to evacuate East Rafah raises concerns about the safety of displaced civilians and the lack of safe haven within Gaza.

Previous evacuation orders have been criticized by international bodies and humanitarian organizations, citing the absence of safe havens amid the ongoing conflict, CNN reports.

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