Israel sent tanks into Rafah and captured the main crossing

Israel sent tanks into Rafah and captured the main crossing

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Hamas said Israel was planning a large-scale attack without regard to the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza or the fate of hostages in the Hamas-run area.

Israel said its “limited” and temporary Rafah evacuation order was aimed at “getting people out of harm's way”. The Palestinian Red Crescent reported “thousands” of Gazans leaving the eastern part of the city.

The Israeli military told residents in eastern Rafah to evacuate to the “expanded humanitarian zone” in al-Mawasi on the coast. But aid groups said al-Mawasi was not prepared for such an influx.

Asked how many people were expected to be relocated, an Israeli military spokesman said: “The estimate is around 100,000 people.”

The Red Crescent said about 250,000 people live in the designated evacuation zone, many of them already displaced from elsewhere.

Abdul Rahman Abu Jazzar, a 36-year-old Palestinian, said the area “doesn't have enough space for us to make tents” because it is already full. “Where can we go,” he asked.

The UN children's agency, UNICEF, said some 600,000 children packed into Rafah would face “further devastation”.

UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, said the Israeli attack in Rafah would mean “more civilian suffering and deaths”, adding that it is “not an evacuation”.

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