Israel prepares for Rafah offensive - GulfToday

Israel prepares for Rafah offensive


This satellite image shows tents being constructed near Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip on Sunday. AP

Satellite photos analysed by the media appear to show a new compound of tents being built near Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip as the Israeli military continues to signal it plans an offensive targeting the city of Rafah.

The tent construction is near Khan Younis, which has been targeted by repeated Israeli military operations over recent weeks. Israel has said it plans to evacuate civilians from Rafah during an anticipated offensive on the southern city, where hundreds of thousands of people have taken refuge during the war, now in its seventh month.

Meanwhile, at least 34,183 Palestinians have been killed and 77,143 injured in Israel's military offensive on Gaza since Oct. 7, the Gaza health ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

On Monday, a failed rocket strike was launched at a base housing US-led coalition forces at Rumalyn, Syria, marking the first time since Feb. 4 that Iranian-backed militias have attacked a US facility in Iraq or Syria, a US defense official said. No personnel were injured in the attack, and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The conflict has sparked regional unrest pitting Israel and the US against Iran and allied groups across the Middle East. Israel and Iran traded fire directly this month, raising fears of all-out war.

A boy gestures as displaced Palestinians inspect the site of an Israeli strike on a tent camp, in Rafah. Reuters

The war was sparked by the unprecedented Oct. 7 raid into southern Israel in which Hamas killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted around 250 hostages. Israel says Hamas fighters are still holding around 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others.

The Israel-Hamas war has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, according to local health officials, at least two-thirds of them children and women. It has devastated Gaza’s two largest cities and left a swath of destruction. Around 80% of the territory’s population has fled to other parts of the besieged coastal enclave.

The US House of Representatives approved a $26 billion aid package on Saturday that includes around $9 billion in humanitarian assistance for Gaza, which experts say is on the brink of famine, as well as billions for Israel. The US Senate could pass the package as soon as Tuesday, and President Joe Biden has promised to sign it immediately.


Related articles