Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

UN Reports 80,000 Refugees as Israel Escalates Rafah Offensive

Thu 09 May 2024 | 11:51 PM

In the latest development from the Gaza Strip, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) revealed on Thursday that approximately 80,000 individuals have fled Rafah within the span of three days. The mass exodus follows an escalation in military operations by Israeli forces in the southern Gaza city. UNRWA, formerly known as Twitter, stated, “Since Israeli forces intensified their military operation on May 6th, about 80,000 people have sought refuge outside of Rafah.” The agency highlighted the dire situation faced by these displaced families, emphasizing the absence of safe havens.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz declared on Thursday his country’s unwavering commitment to combatting Hamas until its complete eradication. This statement came in the wake of U.S. President Joe Biden’s announcement that offensive weapons would not be provided to Israel for use in Rafah. However, Biden reiterated the U.S.’s staunch support for Israel’s defense.

The decision to withhold offensive weaponry from Israel follows weeks of opposition from U.S. officials towards Israel’s proposed offensive in Rafah. Israeli authorities defended their actions, citing the necessity of the operation to achieve objectives such as defeating Hamas and securing the release of hostages held in Gaza.

Reports from witnesses on Thursday confirmed Israeli shelling in Rafah, while the Israeli military announced strikes on Hamas positions in central Gaza. Meanwhile, United Nations officials expressed apprehension regarding the delivery of humanitarian aid, including fuel, to Gaza amidst the ongoing Israeli operations in Rafah.

Rafah serves as a vital crossing for aid shipments from Egypt, while the nearby Kerem Shalom crossing facilitates the passage of supplies from Israel into southern Gaza. Despite the Israeli military’s reopening of the Kerem Shalom crossing on Wednesday, no humanitarian aid has yet reached Palestinian territory. This delay is attributed to the absence of personnel to receive the aid, following the evacuation of workers due to Israeli attacks in the vicinity.