Israel Expands Rafah Offensive, Saying it Now Controls Gaza's Entire Border With Egypt

Palestinians fleeing with their belongings drive their vehicles in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 29, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
Palestinians fleeing with their belongings drive their vehicles in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 29, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
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Israel Expands Rafah Offensive, Saying it Now Controls Gaza's Entire Border With Egypt

Palestinians fleeing with their belongings drive their vehicles in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 29, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
Palestinians fleeing with their belongings drive their vehicles in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 29, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)

Israel’s military said Wednesday it has seized control of the entire length of Gaza’s border with Egypt, without elaborating. Capturing the strategic Philadelphi corridor signals that Israel has deepened its offensive in southern Gaza.
Palestinians in the border city of Rafah reported heavy fighting Wednesday. Israel previously said it was carrying out limited operations in eastern Rafah along the Gaza-Egypt border. The United States and other allies of Israel have warned against a full-fledged offensive in the city, saying it would cause a humanitarian catastrophe, The Associated Press reported.
Fighting in Rafah has already spurred more than 1 million Palestinians to flee, most of whom had already been displaced in the war between Israel and Hamas. They now seek refuge in makeshift tent camps and other war-ravaged areas, where they lack shelter, food, water and other essentials for survival, the UN says.
Earlier Wednesday, a top Israeli official said the war with Hamas is likely to last through the end of the year. Israel has vowed to expunge the militants from the entire Gaza Strip and has done so by a strategy of systematic destruction, at a huge cost in civilian lives.
Israeli bombardments and ground offensives in Gaza have killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, according to the Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between combatants and civilians.
Israel launched its war in Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250. Israel says around 100 hostages are still captive in Gaza, along with the bodies of around 30 more.



High Risk of Famine Persists Across Gaza, Global Hunger Monitor Says 

Men and children search through debris in the yard of the Asma school run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in the Shati camp for Palestinian refugees west of Gaza City, in the aftermath of overnight Israeli bombardment on June 25, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
Men and children search through debris in the yard of the Asma school run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in the Shati camp for Palestinian refugees west of Gaza City, in the aftermath of overnight Israeli bombardment on June 25, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
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High Risk of Famine Persists Across Gaza, Global Hunger Monitor Says 

Men and children search through debris in the yard of the Asma school run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in the Shati camp for Palestinian refugees west of Gaza City, in the aftermath of overnight Israeli bombardment on June 25, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
Men and children search through debris in the yard of the Asma school run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in the Shati camp for Palestinian refugees west of Gaza City, in the aftermath of overnight Israeli bombardment on June 25, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)

A high risk of famine persists across the whole of the Gaza Strip as long as conflict between Israel and Hamas continues and humanitarian access remains restricted, a global hunger monitor said on Tuesday.

Over 495,000 people, or more than one fifth of Gaza's population, are facing the most severe, catastrophic level of food insecurity, said an update from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).

The IPC said increased deliveries of food and nutrition services to northern Gaza in March and April appeared to have reduced the severity of hunger in the area, where the UN-backed body had previously projected that famine was likely.

But Israel's offensive around the southern city of Rafah from early May and other hostilities and displacement have led to a renewed deterioration in recent weeks, it added.

"The humanitarian space in the Gaza Strip continues to shrink and the ability to safely deliver assistance to populations is dwindling. The recent trajectory is negative and highly unstable," the report said.

The Rafah offensive led to the closure of the crossing on Gaza's border with Egypt, which had been a main route for the delivery of food and other supplies, as well as an evacuation point for civilians who were critically ill or injured.

This factor, along with disruptions at the nearby Israeli crossing of Kerem Shalom, reduced humanitarian access to two million people in southern Gaza, the IPC said.

Within Gaza, displacement to areas with less water and fewer health services "increases the risk of disease outbreaks, which would have catastrophic effects on the nutritional and health status of large segments of the population", it said.

Israel's military campaign in Gaza was launched after Hamas-led fighters raided southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

The Israeli response has killed almost 37,600 people, according to Palestinian health authorities, leaving Gaza in ruins and repeatedly displacing much of its population within the blockaded coastal territory.