For over 36 hours now IOF have ceaselessly attacked the southern Gaza Strip city and camp of Rafah. The number of dead is around eight or nine known, the number of injured, according to Dr. Ali Mousa, director of Rafah’s Abu Yousef Najjar Hospital, is 62 as of 10:30 am Saturday. Other reports are higher. At 2 pm the number of injured is approaching 80. Several more people have just been injured in Hi Salaam.
IOF have demolished 30 homes since Thursday midnight. At noon Saturday thousands of people are in the streets of Rafah taking the last three killed to the cemetary for burial. Added to the names of the known dead today are 19 year old Zaki Asharif, killed at 12:40 pm today, 23 year old Otewi Abu Mosen, and Mabrouk Mohammad Juda, a 19 year old from Rafah City studying english language at Al Aqsa Univeristy. His friend just said, “He is a good student, a good man also.”
Of those injured, 23 are not expected by doctors to survive. The normally seven minute trip between Abu Yousef Hospital and the European Hospital is now taking people over two hours by dirt road. IOF have divided the Gaza Strip in four parts for the past week, and one of the new checkpoints blocks Rafah residents from both the European Hospital and the hospital in Khan Younis. NGOs in Gaza City confirm that Gaza City and north of it are cut off from the rest of the Gaza Strip at the oft closed area near Netzarim Settlement, so it also is impossible for the injured to be cared for at the Gaza Strip’s largest hospital, which is Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.
As of 10:30 am Saturday IOF have demolished 30 homes in Rafah since they began the latest attack on Thursday at midnight. This morning some families in Rafah tried to go inside their homes to retrieve furniture, or anything personal they could carry. They are expecting their homes also to be demolished because IOF are attacking their neighborhoods. According to Mohammad Omar in Rafah, families were unable to reach their homes because IOF opened fire on them.
Eyewitnesses in Rafah continue to see more Israeli tanks and bulldozers entering through Salah Adeen Gate. NGOs and journalists alike concur that IOF intend to continue this brutal attack between 7 and 12 days. Several residents in the Hi Salaam area of Rafah say Israeli soldiers are setting up tents on their land, suggesting a long stay.
The attacks on the Yibna area continue to be the most severe. Mohammad Omar from Rafah reports, “At 12:20 in the night the Apache was over us until 2 am. The drone is always in the sky, since the beginning.” IOF demolished his family’s home in Block O nine months ago. His uncle was holding a wedding part day before yesterday in his home and IOF began to demolish the house. Two of his uncles are in the hospital. He said, “There are 100s of trees on the dirt road to the European Hospital. You know those old trees, the really old ones, there are hundreds just everywhere. They’re destroying everything.” Last week when he was being chased by Israeli soldiers for taking pictures he fell and broke his camera. He said, “If I still had my camera I would have first thing taken a picture of the mother who was talking about her kid, the one whose head was blown off. The next picture would be when they were attacking the electricity center, dropping missiles on it.” Most of Rafah is without electricity as the heavy attack and invasion continues.
All schools and universities are closed, as is most everything in the city. Some are trying to operate the regular Saturday market as many who have been trapped in their homes are out of food.
Rafah has suffered under heavy IOF attack and invasion for over a year in the latest campaign to build a closure wall 8 metres high and 10 metres deep. IOF have demolished 100s of homes in single areas alone, rendering thousands of Palestinians homeless in the past year.