ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 147

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Egypt concerned Gazans may storm border when IDF widens Rafah operation

A shepherd herds sheep near the border fence with Egypt in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip near a makeshift tent camp for displaced Palestinians, on January 24, 2024. (AFP)
A shepherd herds sheep near the border fence with Egypt in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip near a makeshift tent camp for displaced Palestinians, on January 24, 2024. (AFP)

A spokesperson for Egypt’s foreign ministry says Cairo is concerned at the potential for a mass effort by Gazans to escape across the border when the Israel Defense Forces expands its operations in Rafah.

In an interview with the Egyptian news channel al-Ghad, Ahmed Abu Zeid says that Egypt sees the situation Gaza’s southern Rafah region as “unbearable and catastrophic.”

“Continuing Israeli strikes on densely populated areas will create an unlivable reality. The scenario of mass displacement is a possibility. The Egyptian position on this has been very clear and straightforward: We are against this policy, and we will not allow it,” he says.

Images in recent weeks circulating on social media have shown Egypt apparently fortifying its defenses at the border, with additional barbed wire and walls.

More than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million people are sheltering in the Rafah area, amid a spiraling humanitarian crisis.

Israel is continuing to hunt Hamas’s leadership in the southern Strip, believed to be hiding deep within the vast tunnel network the terror group dug under the Strip, which military officials assess runs for hundreds of miles.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant vowed last week that the Israeli military will reach and dismantle Hamas’s Rafah Brigade, just as it is currently working to do to Hamas’s battalions in the Khan Younis area.

War erupted between Israel and Hamas with the terror group’s October 7 massacre. Some 3,000 Hamas-led terrorists slaughtered 1,200 people in southern Israel that day — most of them civilians, massacred amid brutal atrocities — and seized 253 hostages.

Vowing to destroy the terror group, Israel launched a wide-scale military campaign in Gaza.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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