Intense Israeli Bombardment Rocks Gaza Despite US Warning of Post-war ‘Anarchy’

Mon May 13 2024
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GAZA CITY: Israel has launched an intense bombardment campaign in Gaza on Monday, including in far-southern Rafah, despite US warnings against a full-scale invasion of the crowded city and of the threat of post-war “anarchy” across the Palestinian territory.

Israeli strikes also raged in northern and central Gaza. AFP reported Israeli helicopter strikes and heavy artillery shelling in the east of Rafah, as well as in northern Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp and Gaza City’s Zeitun neighbourhood.

Israel last week defied a chorus of warnings, including from top ally Washington, and sent tanks and troops into the east of Rafah, the city on the Egyptian border where some 1.4 million Palestinians had sought shelter.

This has sparked an exodus of nearly 360,000 Palestinian people from Rafah so far, said the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees UNRWA, which warned that “no place is safe” in the largely devastated territory.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that Washington had not seen any credible Israeli plan to protect civilians in Rafah, and that “we also haven’t seen a plan for what happens the day after this war in Gaza ends”. “Israel’s on the trajectory, potentially, to inherit an insurgency with many armed Hamas left or, if it leaves, a vacuum filled by chaos, filled by anarchy and probably refilled by Hamas,” he told NBC.

Israeli Shelling Forces Thousands of Palestinians to Flee Northern Gaza 

Meanwhile, thousands of Palestinians fled northern Gaza on Monday as renewed Israeli shelling pounded the Gaza Strip, despite having announced they cleared months ago.

Umm Odai Nassar, one of the displaced Palestinians, recounted the urgent warnings from the Israeli army to evacuate Jabalia, prompting her and many others to seek refuge in Gaza City from the ongoing bombardment. This exodus comes after months of relative calm following Israel’s previous military campaign in the territory.

Israel’s decision to resume operations in the Jabalia camp was in response to reported attempts by Hamas to reestablish their military presence in the area.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) estimates that approximately 250,000 people reside in north Gaza, adding to the complexity of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the region.

Since October 7 last year, Israel has launched a relentless bombardment campaign in Gaza killing at least 35,091 Palestinian people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.

For many Palestinians, displacement has become a recurring nightmare, with Mahmud al-Barsh describing their lives as akin to a game of cat and mouse, constantly moving in the face of ongoing shelling and violence.

Since the recent outbreak of fighting, approximately 64,000 Palestinians have fled from Jabalia and Beit Lahia, seeking safety elsewhere in Gaza. However, even UNRWA shelters have not been immune to Israeli attacks, further complicating the plight of displaced families.

The dire situation is exacerbated by access constraints hindering humanitarian aid delivery, particularly in northern Gaza, where the threat of famine looms large. Amidst the chaos and devastation, Palestinians are left grappling with the harsh reality of survival, with loved ones injured and homes destroyed by relentless bombardments.

The United Nations has repeatedly cited “access constraints” as hindering its ability to reach the needy, particularly in northern Gaza where it has reported imminent famine.

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