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Palestinians flee Rafah over Israel’s fresh threat

People who have already been repeatedly displaced by war describe their plight as they seek safety elsewhere in Gaza.

Under a blazing summer sun, tens of thousands of Palestinians fled Israeli bombardment and clashes with Hamas militants in Rafah on Friday, choking roads with donkey carts, bicycles, pickup trucks and wheelchairs.

More than 150,000 people have now left Gaza’s southernmost city since receiving warnings on Monday from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) of an imminent military operation, with most moving after airstrikes and fighting intensified later in the week.

Among those fleeing on Friday was Iyad Jarboa, an acting instructor and theatre director who left his home in eastern Rafah on Thursday with his family to seek safety in the city of Khan Younis, 6 miles away.

“We have been suffering since the beginning of the war, but these last nights were the most difficult of all, with bombing of all kinds everywhere and none of us able to sleep,” said Jarboa, 45.

“I was worried that my children and my wife would be killed, but also that if we left it too late, we would never escape.”

His brother, sister-in-law and aunt have all sustained serious injuries during the conflict.

“We only have two wheelchairs, so I have to carry one of them on my back and so it would be impossible to move at all if the situation worsened,” Jarboa said.

There had been no panic, humanitarian officials in Rafah said, just huge numbers of people packing whatever they had in preparation for yet another move. Many have been displaced many times as they have fled successive Israeli military offensives across Gaza. (The Guardian)

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