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Israel prepares to expand operations, orders new evacuations in Rafah

On May 11, 2024, clashes between Israel and Hamas continued in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Israeli troops launched ground and air operations in eastern Rafah and Palestinians prepared to evacuate.

On May 11, 2024, Israeli forces launched ground and air operations east of Rafah as Palestinians prepared to evacuate, amid ongoing clashes between Israel and Hamas in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.Image source: Reuters

Israel ordered a new evacuation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah on May 11, preparing to expand the scope of the operation and saying it would also enter the area where Hamas is regrouping in northern Gaza.

Fighting in the enclave has escalated, with Israeli troops and Palestinian militants clashing fiercely on the outskirts of Rafah, making a key nearby aid crossing inaccessible and forcing more than 110,000 people to flee north.

Israel’s advance on Rafah has so far fallen short of the full-scale invasion it planned.

Gaza’s health ministry said 34,388 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli military attacks on Gaza since October 7

The United Nations and other agencies have warned for weeks that an Israeli attack on Rafah would cripple humanitarian operations and cause a catastrophic surge in civilian casualties. More than 1.4 million Palestinians – half of Gaza’s population – have been taking refuge in Rafah, most fleeing Israeli attacks elsewhere.

Army spokesman Avichay Adraee told Palestinians in and around the cities of Jabaliya and Beit Lahiya to leave their homes and head to shelters west of Gaza City, warning people were at “danger “war zone”, Israel will strike “vigorously”.

Fighting is raging in northern Gaza, with Hamas appearing to be regrouping in areas where Israel has already launched punishing attacks. Fighting broke out this week in the Zeitoun area on the outskirts of Gaza City in the north of the territory. Northern Gaza was the first target of the ground attack. Israel said late last year that it had largely dismantled Hamas in the region.

Overnight, three separate attacks in central Gaza killed at least 19 people, including eight women and eight children.document

Overnight, three separate attacks in central Gaza killed at least 19 people, including eight women and eight children. File | Photo credit: Ap

At least 19 people were killed in three separate attacks in the towns of Zawaida, Magazi and Deir Bala in central Gaza, including 8 women and eight children who counted the bodies.

Israeli bombings and ground attacks in Gaza have killed more than 34,800 Palestinians, mostly women and children, according to Gaza’s health ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants in its data.

Much of Gaza has been destroyed, and approximately 80% of Gaza’s population has been driven from their homes.

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