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Sunday, May 19, 2024
World

“Where Can We Go?”: Terror and Panic Set In as Israel Readies to Invade Rafah

RAFAH, GAZA — 

It was a night of terror in Rafah. Early Monday morning, the Israeli military rained bombs on the city in southern Gaza that borders Egypt. The ground shook, the sound of fighter jets dropping bombs so intense and persistent that some described it as a “fire belt,” a term Palestinians use to describe the prolonged targeting of nearby areas. At least 100 people were killed in the bombings, which some of Rafah’s inhabitants said were among the worst of the war.

They would know. Rafah is the last available refuge for at least 1.3 million Palestinians who have fled their homes since October. They have been repeatedly displaced from across the rest of the occupied territory, making their way to an area that the Israeli military had designated a “safe zone.”

An Israeli military official described Monday’s bombing as a diversion,” of an effort to rescue two Israeli hostages. The intense assault appeared to be a prelude to many more horrors to come, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Friday that a long-feared ground invasion of the city is imminent. He ordered a mass evacuation of civilians there — a prospect that is, simply put, impossible, given the number of displaced people currently in Rafah and the fact that there is nowhere left to go.

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