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IDF soliders preparing for ground activity in Gaza. Credit: IDF

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Thursday, Feb. 1 that after achieving military objectives in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, Israeli forces would now enter Rafah, on the border with Egypt, reported The Hill. This means mass death. The move into Rafah renews fears that Palestinian civilians will no longer have any place to flee the violence, as nearly all of Gaza has now come under Israeli control. Some 1.7 million Palestinians are in Rafah after being displaced from their homes farther north in Gaza, according to the United Nations. The city once had a population of around 250,000 people, making it immensely overcrowded.

Though Israel has faced international pressure to scale back its assault, Gallant tweeted in a Feb. 1 statement on X, that Israel must continue advancing to defeat Hamas: “The great pressure that the forces exert on Hamas targets brings us closer to the return of the abductees, more than anything else. We will continue until the end, there is no other way.”

James McGoldrick, the UN’s interim resident coordinator for the Palestinian people, said Rafah is now overwhelmed by people. “As soon as you arrive through Rafah, what hits you straight away is the immensity of the people who are displaced: every street, every pavement,” he said in an interview with the UN posted on Jan. 13. “They also have these makeshift tents built onto the side of buildings encroaching on the roads. It’s very hard to move around. The place is really, really packed.”

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