Saturday , June 22 2024

Israeli forces take control of Rafah crossing


JERUSALEM/ RAFAH/ GAZA CITY: Israeli tanks have taken over the Rafah crossing in Gaza’s border with Egypt after advancing during the night as their warplanes pounded residential homes.

The incursion comes after Israel said it would continue its military operation in Rafah even after Hamas said it had accepted a Gaza ceasefire proposal put forward by Qatari and Egyptian mediators.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the proposal was far from Israel’s demands but that he would send a delegation to Cairo for talks.

UN agencies and aid groups warn of devastating consequences of any Israeli military assault on Rafah after tens of thousands of Palestinians were ordered to evacuate before the attacks.

At least 34,789 people have been killed and 78,204 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7. The death toll in Israel from Hamas’s October 7 attacks stands at 1,139, with dozens of people still held captive.

Israel’s military has shelled an area in Nuseirat camp in central Gaza, causing numerous injuries, including of children, report our colleagues on the ground.

Nuseirat is one of the areas in central Gaza that Palestinians fleeing Rafah, where Israel’s military has launched a limited incursion, have begun heading to but even as they flee, they know no area is fully safe from Israeli military attacks, reports media.

The Rafah border crossing is located on the Egypt-Gaza border and is the only crossing with Gaza not controlled by Israel.

Since a 2007 agreement with Israel, Egypt has controlled the crossing but supplies entering Gaza through Rafah require Israeli approval.

The crossing emerged as a crucial lifeline for aid after Israel closed its border crossings with Gaza on October 7.

In a statement, the Qassam Brigades said it has fired rockets at the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing near Israel, targeting a “gathering of enemy forces”.

Israel closed the Karem Abu Salem crossing in southern Gaza over the weekend after Hamas claimed an attack on it that killed four Israeli soldiers.

It is not only people on the eastern side of Rafah that are evacuating…a lot of people from different areas (of Rafah) that were not designated as red are also evacuating to the middle area and Khan Younis.

It’s packed. People are not even finding a place to set up a tent. They are setting up their tents near the beach, very close to the coastline, on agricultural land.

Two hospitals are also evacuating their patients to the central area. The situation is chaos. All the streets are filled with cars and people putting all their stuff on their cars. You can see mats and pillows on every car that is coming from the south. Palestinians do not know what they’re going to do, where they’re going to settle, and they’re 100 percent sure that Deir el-Balah is also not safe.

There’s no guarantee that evacuating from Rafah will keep them safe from the Israeli air strikes and shelling and artillery. Israeli forces have detained 22 people throughout the occupied West Bank in the last day, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, most arrests took place in the Tulkarem governorate, known as a centre of Palestinian resistance, while others occurred in the governorates of Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus, Jericho and Tubas.

The latest round of arrests bring the total number of Palestinians detained in the West Bank since October 7 to 8,610, according to the Prisoner’s Society.

Sam Rose, director of planning at the UNRWA, spoke to media about the closure by Israel of Gaza’s border crossings. (Int’l News Desk)

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