Home World Gaza war: Almost 450,000 people have fled Rafah in a week, UN says

Gaza war: Almost 450,000 people have fled Rafah in a week, UN says

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Gaza war: Almost 450,000 people have fled Rafah in a week, UN says

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White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Monday that the US still believed “it would be a mistake to launch a major military operation into the heart of Rafah that would put huge numbers of civilians at risk without a clear strategic gain”.

“We are still working with Israel on a better way to ensure the defeat of Hamas everywhere in Gaza, including in Rafah,” he added.

Qatar’s prime minister meanwhile warned on Tuesday that the Rafah operation had “sent backward” his country and Egypt’s efforts to broker a new ceasefire and hostage release deal between Israel and Hamas.

“Especially in the past few weeks, we have seen some momentum building but unfortunately, things didn’t move in the right direction and right now we are in a status of almost a stalemate,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani told an economic forum in Doha.

The IDF also said on Tuesday that its forces had engaged in a number of battles in the Jabalia area of northern Gaza, adding that they had “eliminated by tank fire dozens of terrorists who shot at the troops and dismantled an explosives network that was planted in the area”.

Troops also “eliminated several terrorists”, located tunnel shafts, and dismantled launches and a weapons storage facility in the Zeitoun area, in eastern Gaza City, according to the statement.

Hamas’s military wing said on Tuesday that it had fired missiles two tanks and an armoured bulldozer inside Jabalia refugee camp, where residents said troops had advanced as deep as the local market.

Residents who fled Jabalia on Monday said they had seen tanks pushing into the camp under cover from heavy fire from the air and ground.

One man still living inside Jabalia with his wife and several young children told BBC Arabic’s Gaza Lifeline programme that it was “as if we had returned to the first days of the war”.

“The war has become fiercer than before in terms of the intensity of fire belts [bombings] and gunfire,” Mustafa Jamil Abu Salman said.

“I have become afraid to leave my house to buy basic goods. The streets in the north [of Jabalia] are empty now of people, as no-one can pass through them and the [first responders] cannot pull out the bodies of martyrs from there.”

He added: “I was blessed with having a baby two days ago, and I tried to find a place for my wife to give birth. But the place where she had to give birth was completely unsuitable.”

The IDF said on Sunday that troops had begun an operation in Jabalia “based on intelligence information regarding attempts by Hamas to reassemble its terrorist infrastructure and operatives in the area”.

An estimated 300,000 people are trapped in northern Gaza and are experiencing a “full-blown famine” due to a lack of aid deliveries, according to the head of the World Food Programme.

The IDF said fighter jets and other aircraft had struck more than 100 targets throughout Gaza over the past day and killed five people who had been in “a war room of the terrorist organisations” in central Gaza.

It provided no further details, but the Hamas-run Civil Defence force said eight people were killed overnight in an Israeli strike on a three-storey residential building filled with displaced people in the Nuseirat refugee camp. The dead reportedly included two men in their 60s and two women.

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