Israeli military calls on civilians to leave parts of Rafah

Israel’s military has said it’s begun ordering Palestinian civilians to leave parts of eastern Rafah ahead of a planned operation in the southern Gaza city.

It says about 100,000 people are being directed to head towards tent cities in nearby Khan Younis and Al Mawasi.

The Israeli military is using text messages, flyers and social media to tell people to move.

In what he said was an initial briefing to journalists, an army spokesman said the evacuation was of limited scope and would happen in a gradual way after plans were approved by the Israeli government.

He said the operation was part of the endeavour to dismantle Hamas saying that it had shown its ability to launch attacks from the city by firing rockets from Rafah yesterday, killing three Israeli soldiers near the Kerem Shalom crossing.

Israel has since carried out air strikes in Rafah overnight. Seven months into its offensive against Hamas, Israel has said that victory is impossible without taking the city.

But with more than one million displaced Palestinians sheltering there, Western powers and neighbouring Egypt have raised fears that there could be high numbers of civilian casualties.

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