A Palestinian man and kids have a look at the injury on the website of an Israeli strike on a home, amid the continued battle between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah within the southern Gaza Strip, on Feb. 8, 2024.
Ibraheem Abu Mustafa | Reuters
The Abu Mustafa household’s tent is tough in opposition to the excessive concrete and metallic fence separating Gaza from Egypt in Rafah, the final comparatively secure place in an enclave devastated by Israel’s navy offensive, however one which will now additionally come beneath assault.
The household is amongst greater than one million Palestinians now crammed into the realm round Rafah and fearing they’ve nowhere left to flee inside a tiny strip largely decreased to rubble and the place preventing nonetheless rages.
“Day-after-day, we’re on the run. Being displaced is hard as a result of I’ve two daughters with disabilities. I can not carry them round. I haven’t got a automobile or a cart,” mentioned Laila Abu Mustafa.
“If there will likely be extra displacement, I am not transferring,” she mentioned.
Learn extra concerning the Israel-Hamas battle:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered an evacuation plan for the civilians who crowd Rafah, tenting in streets and empty tons, on the seashore and just like the Abu Mustafa household on the sandy strip alongside the Egyptian border.
Help companies say that any assault on the town will likely be catastrophic in a conflict that has already prompted untold distress.
The conflict started on Oct. 7 when the militant group Hamas that controls Gaza stormed the border fence with Israel, sending in fighters who killed 1,200 individuals, principally civilians, and seized about 250 hostages, in accordance with Israeli tallies.
4 months later, Gaza is in ruins. Beneath an enormous each day bombardment, Israeli floor forces have overrun many of the enclave, smashing homes, public buildings and infrastructure with air raids, artillery hearth and managed detonations.
Palestinian well being authorities say greater than 28,000 individuals have been killed within the conflict, about 70% of them ladies and kids. Greater than 85% of Gazans are homeless. A U.N. survey discovered that almost one in 10 kids beneath 5 are acutely malnourished.
Talks for a deal on a ceasefire and the discharge of hostages have thus far didn’t convey an settlement. Final week Israel rejected a Hamas proposal, saying it might not cease preventing whereas the group retained brigades that Israel says are hiding in Rafah.
Egyptian safety sources mentioned extra high-level talks have been deliberate for Tuesday with senior officers from Qatar and the USA to attend, in addition to Israeli and Palestinian delegations.
Israeli air raids have began concentrating on Rafah over latest days.
On Sunday, Hamas mentioned Israeli air raids within the Gaza Strip over the earlier 4 days had killed two hostages and injured eight others.
The group mentioned any Israeli assault on Rafah would “blow up” the discussions for a deal to free the remaining hostages.
Talking in an interview attributable to air on U.S. community ABC on Sunday, Netanyahu reiterated that Israeli forces would assault Rafah, however mentioned they have been making ready “an in depth plan” for the place civilians there may go.
“We’ll do it. We’ll get the remaining Hamas terrorist battalions in Rafah,” he mentioned, including “We’ll do it whereas offering secure passage for the civilian inhabitants.”
A spokesperson for France’s Overseas Ministry mentioned: “A big-scale Israeli offensive at Rafah would create a catastrophic humanitarian scenario of a brand new and unjustifiable dimension.”
In opposition to the border fence, topped with barbed wire, the Abu Mustafa household hangs laundry between tents. They prepare dinner what little meals they will collect in empty tin cans over a hearth within the sand.
Concern of an assault on Rafah is the fixed topic of each dialog within the crammed metropolis mentioned Mariam, a girl who fled her Gaza Metropolis residence early within the conflict together with her three kids aged 5, 7 and 9.
“I can not describe how we really feel. There’s turmoil in my head. My kids maintain asking me when Israel will invade Rafah and the place we are going to go and if we are going to die. And I haven’t got the solutions,” she mentioned.
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