Israel Continues Rafah Operation, Tunnels From Gaza To Egypt Found

(MENAFN- IANS) Gaza/Tel Aviv, May 19 (IANS/DPA) Israel continued its military operation in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip over the weekend, with Israeli army radio reporting on Sunday that troops had found several smuggling tunnels in the border area between Gaza and Egypt.

Tunnels were also discovered that had been used by Hamas on October 7 - the day Hamas and others massacred more than 1,200 people in Israel. Some of the tunnels have already been destroyed.

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), around 8,00,000 people have left the city since the military operation in Rafah began around a fortnight ago.

Once again, almost half of the population of Rafah is on the streets, lamented UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini on X on Saturday evening. Lazzarini stressed that there is no safe place for civilians in Gaza.

The Israeli leadership believes the last remaining Hamas battalions are in Rafah, and it wants to smash them. Israel's main ally, the US, and others have repeatedly warned Israel against a large-scale attack on the city, which borders Egypt, due to the large number of civilians taking refuge there. However, Israel's leadership is sticking to its attack plans for Rafah.

Israel wants to report to US President Joe Biden's security adviser Jake Sullivan the number of Palestinians who have already fled Rafah when Sullivan visits Israel on Sunday, army radio said.

Israel's figures have often differed from those presented by UNRWA, which is the subject of strong Israeli criticism.



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