Palestinians in Rafah hold on to life, as town is next probable Israeli target

Palestinians crowd a market in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024.
Palestinians crowd a market in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. Copyright Mohammed Dahman/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with AP
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In the tightly packed southern Gaza town of Rafah, where tents fill every available space, Palestinians struggle to survive amidst the ongoing conflict with Israel.

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Rafah, once a quiet border town along Egypt, now finds itself in the spotlight as Israel gears up for its next phase in combating Hamas.

The town has witnessed a surge in population as hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians seek refuge, with makeshift shelters sprouting up in every corner. With over 1.5 million people crammed into Rafah, more than half of Gaza's population, there is nowhere to escape the onslaught of violence that has ravaged much of the surrounding territory.

A view of a makeshift tent camp for Palestinians displaced by the Israeli ground offensive on the Gaza Strip, in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024
A view of a makeshift tent camp for Palestinians displaced by the Israeli ground offensive on the Gaza Strip, in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024Mohammed Dahman/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

UN officials sound the alarm, warning of the catastrophic consequences of an impending attack on Rafah, particularly for the hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children in harm's way. Such an assault would be a disaster for the already strained humanitarian aid system struggling to sustain Gaza's population.

Israel justifies its actions in Rafah as necessary to dismantle Hamas and secure the release of hostages held by the militants. Yet, the streets of Rafah, bustling with families desperately trying to eke out a living, highlights the grim reality faced by its inhabitants.

Throughout the Gaza Strip, food scarcity is common, UNRWA Chief Philippe Lazzarini defined the situation of the organisation in a recent announcement as coming to a "breaking point". With vital aid reserves running out and activity in northern Gaza brought to a halt with reserves to have completely run out by March, the region faces an impending humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions.

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