More than 100,000 flee Rafah as Netanyahu vows to widen Gaza assault despite US warning

Some 1.3 million Palestinians — over half Gaza’s population — had sought refuge in Rafah.
Israel Palestinians West Bank Attacks
Posted at 7:22 AM, May 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-10 07:22:04-04

About 110,000 people have fled Rafah in southern Gaza and food and fuel supplies in the area are critically low, a U.N. official says.

All crossings into southern Gaza remain closed, cutting off supplies and preventing medical evacuations and the movement of humanitarian staff, said Georgios Petropoulos, an official for the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs working in Rafah.

Some 1.3 million Palestinians — over half Gaza’s population — had sought refuge in Rafah.

The World Food Program will run out of food for distribution in southern Gaza by Saturday unless more aid arrives, Petropoulos said.

U.N. officials warn that the lack of fuel is undermining medical facilities, water supplies and sewage systems across Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that a U.S. threat to withhold some weapons would not deter Israel from expanding its offensive in Gaza. A limited Israeli operation earlier this week captured the Gaza side of Rafah's border crossing with Egypt, throwing humanitarian operations into crisis.

“If we need to, we will fight with our fingernails,” Netanyahu said. “But we have much more than fingernails.”

His comments come amid a deepening crisis in relations with the U.S.

Israel says that Rafah is Hamas’ last stronghold in Gaza, and Netanyahu has repeatedly vowed to invade the city despite widespread international opposition.

The death toll from the war in Gaza has soared to more than 34,500 people, according to local health officials, and caused vast destruction to apartments, hospitals, mosques and schools across several cities. The U.N. says northern Gaza is already in a state of “full-blown famine.”

The war began Oct. 7 when Hamas attacked southern Israel, killing around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducting about 250 others. Israel says militants still hold around 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others.

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