Israel Prepares Rafah Evacuation With Help From US, Egypt – New Tent City Erected

Via The Cradle

The Israeli army is closing in on completing its plans for an assault on the Gaza Strip’s southern city of Rafah, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Tuesday. 

WSJ cites Egyptian officials as saying that Israel’s plan to evacuate civilians from the city will take two to three weeks and will be carried out in cooperation with Washington, Cairo, and other Arab states, including the UAE. 

Image: AFP

The officials say Israel is planning on gradual deployments of troops to Rafah. The troops will concentrate on specific areas where Tel Aviv believes Hamas leaders are holed up.

The entire operation – including the evacuations – is expected to take at least six weeks, according to WSJ. The attack on Rafah will have a “very tight operational plan because it’s very complex there,” an Israeli security official told the outlet. “There’s a humanitarian response that’s happening at the same time.”

Israel’s evacuation plan involves moving Rafah’s civilian population upwards towards the southern city of Khan Yunis, as well as other areas of the strip, the report states, adding that shelters with tents, food supplies, and medical facilities will be set up

Egypt has been briefed on the details of the plan. Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported last week, citing Egyptian sources, that Egyptian forces and agencies are “at full readiness” in northern Sinai and along the Egyptian border with Gaza. The increased readiness came after “contacts from the Israeli side” relating to preparations for the operation in the southern city.

The Al-Araby Al-Jadeed report adds that the Egyptian Red Crescent has been readying camps in Khan Yunis over the past few months in preparation for the displacement of Palestinians from Rafah. Satellite images obtained by AP this week reportedly show a new tent compound near Khan Yunis.

In February, it was reported that Egypt built a security zone in the Sinai near the border with Rafah. Many speculated at the time that the security zone would aid Israeli plans to push Rafah’s population into the Sinai desert. Egypt’s State Information Service said on February 17 that the zone is a logistics hub on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border, which will be used to deliver aid into Gaza.

Israeli army radio reported on Monday that Tel Aviv is now expanding a designated “humanitarian zone” that will “accommodate around one million people.” It said field hospitals have also been set up in the area. Army radio added that the zone will extend from Al-Mawasi on Gaza’s southern coast towards Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. 

Israel believes Rafah is Hamas’ final stronghold and is dead set on attacking the city. Washington has repeatedly said it would not accept an operation there without a plan to properly and safely evacuate civilians and move them out of harm’s way.  

The UN and several countries have warned that attacking Rafah would have catastrophic consequences and that there is no safe way to evacuate the desperately overcrowded city. 


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