Military personnel had already warned residents in the east of the city to leave the region; it is estimated that Rafah is home to 1 million displaced people

The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) said this Saturday (May 11, 2024) that it had warned residents of “additional areas” from east of Rafah to leave the region and move to a humanitarian area in Al-Mawasi. A similar request had already been made on Monday (May 6).

Israel has been under international pressure, especially from the USA, not to attack Rafah so as not to put civilians in danger. The city, located in the south of the Gaza Strip, is estimated to be home to more than 1 million displaced Palestinians.

US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday (May 8) that he would suspend arms shipments to Israel if Tel Aviv orders a major invasion of Rafah. The US is an ally of the Jewish country, but tension between the countries increased due to Tel Aviv’s determination to attack Rafah.

In response to Biden’s statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on Thursday (May 9) that the country is strong enough to fight alone”.

Israel had announced in mid-March that it approved the plan to enter the city. On April 29, Israeli airstrikes on 3 houses in the city killed at least 20 Palestinians. Israeli forces have been carrying out ground incursions in the region.

On Tuesday (May 7), the country said it had assumed the “operational control” from the Palestinian part of the border between Rafah and Egypt. The IDF stated that the passage “was being used for terrorist purposes”.

The border was used at the beginning of the conflict to remove foreigners who were in the Gaza Strip – including Brazilians. Today, it is the gateway for humanitarian aid into the Palestinian enclave.

According to the IDF, the request for the removal of civilians made this Saturday (May 11) was motivated by “terrorist activities and fires carried out by Hamas from the area”. The military reported that around 300,000 people have already moved to the humanitarian area in Al-Mawasi.

The IDF released a map of the Rafah area that was to be liberated:


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