At Least 360,000 Flee Rafah As Israel Touts 'Precision Operation' Against Biden Criticism

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, May 13, 2024 - 05:45 PM

An estimated 360,000 Gazans have fled the southern city of Rafah as the Israel Defense Forces concentrate a ground operation on the eastern half of the city, the main UN aid agency UNRWA says. This figure is likely to grow higher by the day as IDF tanks and ground units press forward.

The official Palestinian death toll, issued by the Hamas-run Health Ministry, has surpassed 35,000 - tallied at 35,091 Gazans killed and other 78,827 wounded since Oct.7. The last 24 hours of fighting has seen 57 killed and 82 injured, according to the figures.

Anadolu Agency

Gaza's health system is "hours away" from collapse, the health ministry has told international aid groups and news outlets, due primarily to fuel shipments being not getting into the Strip amid fighting. Hospitals and clinics rely on generators to operate.

"We are just hours away from the collapse of the health system in the Gaza Strip due to the lack of the necessary fuel to operate generators in hospitals, ambulances, and (for vehicles to) transport staff," the Gaza health ministry said.

Israel has said that over the weekend it had transferred a large quantity of fuel into the Strip in order to ease the humanitarian crisis.

Ongoing pressure to minimize civilian death from the Biden administration has resulted in the Israeli side claiming it is engaged in a 'limited' ground offensive. So far the IDF appears to have cut Rafah in half and is focused on actions in the east. Specific sectors of the cities have been ordered to be evacuated, with tens of thousands of flyers having been dropped from aircraft.

In a Sunday night phone call Defense Minister Yoav Gallant sought to defend the operation, telling US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Israel is undertaking a 'precise operation'.

The readout says Gallant conveyed to the US top diplomat "developments in Gaza, including IDF operations across the Strip in the face of terror hotspots, and the precise operation in the Rafah area against remaining Hamas battalions, while securing the crossing."

"The minister expressed his appreciation to Secretary Blinken for the ongoing support provided by the US administration for Israel’s security," the readout added.

Blinken reportedly again conveyed the US stance which stands against a major operation in Rafah. The White House has warned it could withhold future offensive weapons from Israel, but so far it seems a mere one shipment has been confirmed as on pause.

Meanwhile major IDF operations have restarted in the north too, with Reuters describing: Israeli forces pushed deep into the ruins of Gaza's northern edge to recapture an area where they had claimed to have defeated Hamas months ago, while at the opposite end of the enclave tanks and troops pushed across a highway into Rafah. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have again taken flight.

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