IDF says 'precise operation' in Rafah continues as thousands more told to evacuate

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip walk through a makeshift tent camp in Rafah, May 10, 2024
Palestinians displaced by the Israeli air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip walk through a makeshift tent camp in Rafah, May 10, 2024 Copyright Abdel Kareem Hana/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Abdel Kareem Hana/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with AP
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The Israeli military issued more evacuation orders for tens of thousand of Palestinians on Saturday, advising them to head to an ‘expanded humanitarian zone’ in al-Mawasi.

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Smoke has been seen from southern Israel rising over Gaza's skyline as heavy fighting continues in the north of the Strip.

A senior spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said that the air force was carrying out airstrikes in the north of Gaza.

But fighting also continues in Gaza’s southernmost city, Rafah, where Israel launched a 'limited' operation last week, seizing the border crossing with Egypt in a bid to choke off Hamas supply lines.

"Since the start of our precise operation against Hamas in Rafah we have eliminated dozens of terrorists, exposed underground terror tunnels and vast amounts of weapons," said IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari.

"Prior to our operations we urge civilians to temporarily move towards humanitarian areas and move away from the crossfire that Hamas puts them in. Our war is against Hamas, not against the people of Gaza."

A Palestinian child wounded in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip is brought to a hospital in Rafah, May 10, 2024
A Palestinian child wounded in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip is brought to a hospital in Rafah, May 10, 2024Ismael Abu Dayyah/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.

On Saturday, the Israeli military issued evacuation orders for tens of thousands more Palestinians, advising them to leave Rafah and head to an 'expanded humanitarian zone' in coastal al-Mawasi.

The UN says around 150,000 Palestinians have already fled Rafah since last week's evacuation orders with many heading to al-Mawasi.

But some aid groups have sounded the alarm about conditions there. Hundreds of thousands of people packed onto the strip of sand have already overwhelmed the inadequate supplies of food, water and healthcare.

Around 1.4 million Palestinians sought shelter in Rafah on the orders of the IDF who declared the city a safe zone. Israel has threatened for weeks to launch a full-scale ground offensive in the city to eliminate the Hamas battalions it says are based there.

But those operational plans have been met with fierce criticism from aid groups and global leaders, including Israel’s staunchest ally the United States.

Last week, President Joe Biden threatened to stop the supply of some weapons to Israel if it went ahead with plans to invade the city.

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