Displaced people are leaving Rafah city amid fears of ground action

Gaza- “A new exodus, not a return home,” is how Abu Khalil explains his departure from the city of Rafah and heading again to the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

Abu Khalil along with his family (six members) were displaced from their home in Gaza City on 13 October, and he took refuge in his wife's family home in the Nuseirat camp and lived there for about two months, before That he was forced to flee a second time to the city of Rafah after fighting intensified in the central governorate of the Strip. After the infiltration of the land occupying forces.

In Rafah, which local and international estimates suggest currently houses about half of the strip's population of 2.2 million people, Abu Khalil was one of the few lucky enough to find a house to rent, and he is bitter. Did not go through the experience – as he described it – of living in tents or crowded shelter centres.

A banner for the return of displaced people from Rafah in the center of the Gaza Strip, and warning against attempts to return to occupied Gaza City and its north - Raed Musa - Rafah - Al Jazeera Net
A banner calling for the return of displaced people from Rafah to the central Gaza Strip, and warning against attempts to return from occupied Gaza City and its north (Al Jazeera).


For about a month and a half, Abu Khalil, who preferred to speak by his surname on the Al Jazeera net, lived in this house under construction in the city of Rafah, whose streets, neighborhoods and camps have become crowded with more than a million displaced people. People who have sought refuge there during the past four months as a result of the horrific Israeli crimes that have continued since the war began on 7 October.

This forty-year-old displaced man says that the situation in Rafah is horrific, and life is becoming more tragic day by day, and that it seems “the next target of the occupation after Khan Younis.”

Israel gradually began its ground campaign, starting from Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip, passing through cities and refugee camps in the Central Governorate, and currently continuing its ground incursion into the city of Khan Younis, adjacent to the city of Rafah. North, where discussion about possible ground action is growing in the Hebrew media.

Describing the resulting living and humanitarian conditions in Rafah, the United Nations said that “continued displacement has turned it into a pressure cooker filled with despair.” For Abu Khalil, his despair has reached its peak, and he says, “I lost my money and my house in Gaza, and I don't want to lose my family.

The United Nations and international circles have warned of the consequences of Israel expanding its ground campaign to include the city of Rafah, threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

Abu Khalil, his wife and four children were among the first to flee Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip for their lives. His commercial store and residential house were severely destroyed. He says, “I felt very dangerous to be there in Rafah in light of the increasing Israeli threats of ground operations.”

back to the middle

Displaced people returning from Rafah to the central area of ​​the Gaza Strip take Al-Rashid Street, known as the Sea Road, the only outlet the occupation forces have left open for the movement of people, and they Push the residents there. Through this, flee to the south of the Gaza Strip, especially to the city of Rafah.

While Abu Khalil constantly uses his car for displacement, after taxi traffic stopped due to running out of fuel, most people are forced to use goods transport vehicles and animal-drawn carts.

Abu Khalil found his wife's family home partially destroyed, surrounded by major destruction of residential homes and infrastructure. However, he believes that the Nussirat camp is currently safer than the city of Rafah, and that it suffered a large number of killings and destruction during this period. Ground operations in the central region.

These same individuals hope to travel outside Gaza temporarily until the war ends or return to their home in Gaza City and end the bitter journey of displacement. He says, “I want to return to my home, even if it's in a tent on its ruins.”

In turn, Umm Abdullah al-Qatrawi returned to the Nusirat camp, and her husband, Abu Abdullah, told Al Jazeera Net, “She could no longer bear the tent life and decided to return to her family home in the camp.” Did.”

An Israeli airstrike destroyed the al-Qatarawi family's apartment in the “Mohandisesin Tower” in the camp. Fate was kind to her and she passed away a few days before the attack, which killed dozens of people.

“This apartment is our whole life, and it's the only one we have,” says Abu Abdullah. “We've lost everything in it,” says Abu Abdullah, adding that Umm Abdullah is living in a tent near the Egyptian border in the west after 40 days of bitter displacement. “Decided to return to the family home in the city of Rafah.”

This man did not return with his wife and preferred to remain in the tent to safeguard his wife's life in anticipation of uncertain circumstances, and to provide shelter to his family in the event any emergency arose in the central area and He found himself forced to flee again.

forbidden withdrawal

Captured tanks and military vehicles moved from densely populated areas into camps and outskirts of cities, encouraging the displaced to return to their homes or what was left, including the Abu Bakr family, whose 50 Individuals were involved.

Islam Abu Bakr told Al Jazeera Net, “My family returned to the Nusret camp because of Israeli threats in the city of Rafah and the poor living conditions there.”

The large family was living in two small residential apartments in eastern Rafah, and according to Islam, apart from “severe overcrowding, lack of aid”, the main reason for the decision to return to the central area was fear of an Israeli ground operation. , and difficulty providing the basic necessities of life, such as water and food.

The return of displaced persons from the central area affects the high population density of Rafah city, the majority of whom are from Gaza City and cities in the northern Gaza Strip, where the occupation authorities prevent the return, and are still forcing them into the coastal sea. Stopped there to escape on foot via the road to the south.

While Israeli airstrikes destroyed the “Wadi Gaza Bridge” on the sea road to prevent the passage of cars, it strengthened its control over Salah al-Din Road and stopped movement on it, which connects the north and the south. There are only two roads. Of Gaza Strip.

The threatening and intimidating leaflets dropped by Israeli planes on the areas south of the Gaza Strip are not stopping, warning of a return to Gaza City and its north. In the latest of these leaflets, the occupation army says that “the entire area north of the Gaza Valley is still considered a dangerous war zone,” and warns against attempts to return to it.

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