Israel orders Palestinians to evacuate Rafah – Mondoweiss

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Casualties 

  • 34,735 + killed* and at least 78,108 wounded in the Gaza Strip.*
  • 496+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.**
  • Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,139.
  • 612 Israeli soldiers have been killed since October 7, and at least 6,800 injured.***

*Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel on May 6, 2024. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead.

** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on May 5, this is the latest figure.

*** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.” The number of Israeli soldiers wounded is according to Israeli media reports.

Key Developments 

  • Israel kills 113 Palestinians, wounds 142 since Thursday, May 2, across Gaza, raising the death toll since October 7 to 34,735 and the number of wounded to 78,108, according to the Gaza health ministry.
  • Israeli army warns Palestinians in Rafah of an imminent invasion, instructing them to leave.
  • Egypt closes the Rafah crossing from its side with cement blocks.
  • Israel’s war minister Gallant tells U.S. defense secretary Lloyd Austin that Israel “has no choice but to invade Rafah.”
  • Axios: Biden will discuss the Rafah invasion with Netanyahu today.
  • EU chief diplomat Joseph Borrell says Israel’s order to Palestinians to evacuate Rafah is “unacceptable.”
  • France renews its refusal of an Israeli invasion of Rafah.
  • Hamas says that Israel’s invasion of Rafah “will not be a picnic.”
  • UN experts condemn Israel’s “systematic” violations against Palestinian civilians.
  • UNRWA says it will not participate in evacuating civilians from Rafah.
  • The Israeli army admits four of its soldiers were killed in a Palestinian mortar attacks against Israeli troops in the Netzarim corridor, south of Gaza city.
  • West Bank: four Palestinians killed in gunfight with Israeli forces north of Tulkarem.

Israel kills 113 Palestinians since Thursday

The Gaza-based Palestinian health ministry announced that the remaining hospitals in the Gaza Strip received 113 Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes since Thursday, May 2, while 142 others arrived wounded.

Meanwhile, local media sources reported that, in the past 24 hours, Israeli forces bombed the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City, as well as a residential apartment in the Samer area. Five bodies have been recovered since Sunday. Israeli forces also killed an unreported number of people in strikes on Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip.

In the central Gaza Strip, Israeli strikes targeted the Mighraqa village, killing at least six Palestinians since Sunday in strikes on the Nuseirat refugee camp. Another Palestinian was killed on Sunday in an Israeli strike on the Maghazi refugee camp.

In the southern Gaza Strip, Israeli forces killed nine Palestinians in strikes on eastern Rafah on Sunday, while seven more were reported killed in Israeli strikes south of the city. The army also targeted several family houses north of the city, without reported casualties in the past 24 hours.

On Monday, the Israeli army began to order Palestinians to evacuate Rafah, in preparation for a ground invasion. The city and its surroundings are currently a refuge for more than 1.5 million Palestinians, mostly displaced from the north.

Israeli officials have been saying that an invasion of Rafah is necessary to destroy the “remaining Hamas brigades”.

On Sunday, Palestinian fighters launched a rocket attack on the Netzarim corridor, the buffer zone that Israeli forces have been creating south of Gaza City, cutting the Strip from east to west. The Israeli army admitted that four of its soldiers were killed in the attack, while 10 others were wounded, three of whom are in critical condition.

Israel begins to order Palestinians to leave Rafah

Palestinians in Rafah have begun to receive phone calls from the Israeli army since Sunday, ordering them to evacuate the city and its surroundings in preparation for a ground invasion.

“The [Israeli] army called us and told us to evacuate eastern Rafah,” Malek Shimbari, a Palestinian in his thirties residing in Rafah since December, wrote on his Facebook page. “This is the 8th evacuation for us, and we don’t know yet where to,” he added.

Shimbari told Mondoweiss that he fell with his wife and his 3-year-old daughter from Tel al-Hawa in Gaza City in October. Shimbari owned an engineering bureau, which was lost in the Israeli bombing.

“We stayed in Khan Younis, moving from a house, to a school, to several other places before we came to Rafah, where my wife gave birth to our new son under a tent,” explained Shimbari. “Now I’m looking for a car, since [Monday] morning to take us to Khan Younis,” he added.

Israel has been insisting on invading Rafah, despite international pressure. The UN has warned several times that an invasion of Rafah will cause a “humanitarian disaster.”

CIA chief to extend his stay in Qatar ‘to save negotiations’

Indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel to reach a prisoners’ exchange deal and ceasefire could “collapse” over whether a prisoners’ exchange deal would end the war.

On Sunday, Axios quoted an unnamed Israeli official saying, “The mediators and the U.S. have a huge interest that the talks don’t explode and they are making a lot of efforts.,”

According to the quoted sources, Hamas has been insisting that a prisoners’ exchange should bring an end to the war, while Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has refused such a condition.

Meanwhile, CIA director William Burns prolonged his stay in Qatar to try and “save the negotiation,” as Israel began to order Palestinians to evacuate Rafah in preparation for a ground invasion.

On Sunday, a Hamas delegation left Cairo for Doha after two days of negotiations to discuss the latest round of talks with the group’s political leadership there.

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