Israeli airstrikes ‘hit the only land exit from Gaza into Egypt – after IDF spokesman told civilians to flee through it’
- READ MORE: Hamas launches mass rocket attack on Israel’s Ashkelon city after telling citizens they had to leave before 5pm or die
Israeli airstrikes struck the only land exit from Gaza into Egypt today, shortly after a senior IDF spokesperson advised civilians in the Strip to flee through it.
Sinai for Human Rights, an Egyptian NGO, said that strikes through Tuesday had forced the border shut. Witnesses claim a building was damaged, Afp reported.
The Israeli military confirmed area strikes, claiming hits on ‘an underground tunnel for smuggling weapons and equipment’. No casualties were reported.
The strikes came as a senior IDF spokesperson today advised Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to flee through the crossing – before the military issued a correction.
The IDF’s international media spokesman, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, had said: ‘Rafah crossing is still open. Anyone who can get out, I would advise them to get out.’
The military later clarified: ‘In recent days, the IDF has been instructing the population inside of the Gaza Strip to distance themselves from designated areas.
‘We emphasise that there is no official call by Israel for residents of the Gaza Strip to exit into Egypt.’
Entire districts in Gaza were ‘razed’ in airstrikes today as Israel continues its response to an ongoing incursion launched by Hamas on Saturday.
Israel announced yesterday it would put the region under ‘complete siege’, making the Rafah crossing into Egypt the sole route out of the Gaza Strip by land.
Hamas, in turn, launched a barrage of rockets at the port city of Ashkelon – hours after warning Israeli civilians had to leave before 5pm or die.
Smoke rises from an explosion caused by Israeli airstrikes on the border between Egypt and Rafah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023
Smoke billows from the Gaza’s Rafah border crossing with Egypt during an Israeli airstrike on October 10, 2023
A Palestinian sits on the rubble of a building destroyed in Israeli strikes, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip October 9, 2023
Smoke billows from the Gaza’s Rafah border crossing with Egypt during an Israeli airstrike on October 10, 2023. Gaza’s border crossing with Egypt was hit by three Israeli air strikes Tuesday
Trucks leave Gaza’s Rafah border crossing with Egypt during an Israeli airstrike on October 10
The movement of people and goods across the border is strictly controlled under a blockade of Gaza enforced by Egypt and Israel, in place since 2007.
The Rafah crossing is restricted to humanitarian cases and requires lengthy authorisations.
READ MORE: How Israel will carry out the siege of Gaza: With ground assault hours away, expert reveals how troops will be faced with deadly street-to-street battles at the risk of high casualties, combined with air power and artillery
Hamas claims the strikes today have made the border impassable, according to The Times of Israel.
Witnesses have said Egyptian employees at the border post have now been evacuated while ‘dozens of Palestinian families’ who had tried to enter Gaza were turned back towards El Arish, Egypt, in light of recent airstrikes.
Egyptian officials have been in talks with Israel and the US, aiming to set up humanitarian corridors in Gaza to deliver aid, according to an Egyptian official.
There were negotiations with the Israelis to declare the area around the Rafah crossing a ‘no fire zone,’ the official said, speaking to AP on condition of anonymity.
Airstrikes into the Gaza Strip have killed and displaced hundreds, if not thousands, over the last four days.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had advised civilians in the Gaza Strip to ‘get out of there now’ in a televised address on Saturday, stressing the IDF would use all of its military might to avenge the victims of Hamas’ attacks into Israel.
But strikes near the border have seen ‘disruption’ at the Rafah crossing in and out.
Egypt is also looking to prevent a mass exodus from the Gaza Strip into its Sinai Peninsula.
Israel’s assault on Gaza has caused alarm in Egypt, which has urged Israel to provide safe passage for civilians from the enclave rather than encouraging them to flee southwest towards Sinai, two Egyptian security sources said.
Egypt today held talks to ‘settle the people of Gaza in [Egypt’s] Sinai Peninsula,’ state-linked TV channel Al Qahera News reported.
But sources said the country ‘has rejected and will reject this matter, which was also rejected by the Palestinian people.’
Earlier today, Al Jazeera reported Israel had threatened to strike any trucks carrying aid that attempted to enter Gaza through the crossing.
It follows Israel’s decision late on Monday to impose a ‘complete siege’ of Gaza, cutting off electricity, fuel and food for the Gaza Strip’s 2.3 million people.
The country’s defence minister said yesterday: ‘We are fighting human animals, and we act accordingly.’
Rights groups and charities have urged against the siege, claiming it will ‘lead to a humanitarian catastrophe’, and pleading with Israel not to prevent aid from reaching ‘an already vulnerable population’.
Mustafa Tamaizeh, Oxfam Acting Country Director in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel said: ‘Oxfam is horrified by the recent attacks. Violence never paves the way for peace. The international community must use all diplomatic tools at its disposal to secure an immediate ceasefire.
‘The decision to implement a “total siege” by the Israeli government, in addition to the ongoing blockade, will further deny Gazan civilians essentials like food, water and electricity.
‘This constitutes collective punishment of a population that bears no responsibility for the violence and is illegal under international law.
‘It will not contribute to peace and security, instead, it will further fan the flames of this crisis.’
Humanitarian organisations have called for the creation of corridors to get aid into Gaza, warning that hospitals overwhelmed with wounded were running out of supplies.
Explosions illuminate the sky during Israeli strikes on Gaza City on October 10, 2023
Palestinians walk through the rubble of buildings hit by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza on Tuesday
Smoke rises and ball of fire over a buildings in Gaza City on October 9, 2023 during an Israeli air strike
General view of Gaza City on Monday after Israel launched air strikes in response to attacks by Hamas
Israeli soldiers scan an area while sirens sound as rockets from Gaza are launched towards Israel near Sderot, southern Israel, on Monday, October 9, 2023
Israeli soldiers gather near tanks, as violence around the nearby Gaza Strip mounts following a mass-rampage by armed Palestinian infiltrators on Monday, October 9, 2023
The conflict shows no signs of abating, despite efforts by Qatar and the United States to mediate peace talks between Hamas and Israel.
Israel expanded the mobilization of reservists to 360,000 on Tuesday, according to the country’s media.
READ MORE: Who are Hamas? Everything you need to know about the Palestinian terror movement that has launched war on Israel
After days of fighting, its military said Tuesday morning that it had regained effective control over areas Hamas attacked in its south, and of the Gaza border.
Israel is expected to launch a ground offensive into Gaza in the coming days, though plans have not yet been announced.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has pledged to strike Hamas with ‘unprecedented force’ in retaliation to harrowing attacked launched on civilians in Israel since Saturday.
‘We have only started striking Hamas,’ Netanyahu, 73, said in a nationally televised address late on Monday.
‘What we will do to our enemies in the coming days will reverberate with them for generations,’ he added.
‘Hamas terrorists bound, burned and executed children. They are savages. Hamas is ISIS,’ Netanyahu concluded.
In response to mounting Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, killing hundreds of civilians, Hamas yesterday threatened to kill hostages taken for each strike on civilian houses in Gaza without pre-warning.
Hamas, the de facto governing authority of the Gaza Strip, has committed chilling atrocities in Israel over the past four days.
The group launched its incursion into Israel on Saturday with an early attack on the Nova trance festival in southern Israel.
The event was billed as a celebration of ‘friends, love and infinite freedom’.
Video shows a smiling Shani, who loved to travel according to her family, dancing at the music festival moments before she was captured by the terrorists
Shocking footage shared on social media appears to show Palestinian fighters parading Shani’s partially naked body on the back of a pick-up truck
The body of a motorist lies on a road following a mass-infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip, in Sderot, southern Israel October 7, 2023
Israeli rescue teams evacuate the wounded near the southern city of Sderot on October 7
Hamas militants opened fire on civilian attendees, killing some 260+ in the attacks.
Early reports claimed many may have been taken hostage.
Among those reported dead was Nicole Louk, a 22-year-old tattoo artist and German-Israeli citizen, who was seen in harrowing footage stripped and paraded around in a truck.
The IDF claimed today that Hamas fighters had killed and decapitated babies at one kibbutz near the Gaza border. The claims have not been verified.
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