Egypt setting up Gaza border shelter for Palestinians ahead of expected Israeli offensive in Rafah: report


Egypt is setting up an area along its border with the Gaza Strip that could shelter Palestinians if an Israeli military offensive in Rafah sparks a mass exodus, a report says. 

Three security sources told Reuters that Egypt has started preparing a desert area with basic facilities as part of a contingency plan, with one source saying construction of a camp began around the start of this week and that it could offer temporary shelter for Palestinians “until a resolution is reached.” 

Egypt so far has not allowed Palestinians to enter its territory since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7.  

The report comes a day after President Biden, in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “raised the situation in Rafah, and reiterated his view that a military operation should not proceed without a credible and executable plan for ensuring the safety of and support for the civilians in Rafah,” according to a statement from the White House. 

NETANYAHU DECLARES ‘VICTORY IS WITHIN REACH’ AS HAMAS REDUCED TO ‘LAST REMAINING BASTION’ 

A crane and trucks are seen working along Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip near Rafah, according to the Sinai Foundation for Human Rights. (Reuters/Sinai Foundation for Human rights)

Rafah’s population has swelled from about 280,000 to nearly 1.7 million after many Palestinians fled there since the onset of the Israeli military’s ground incursion in Gaza, according to United Nations estimates.  

“We will fight until complete victory, and this includes a powerful action also in Rafah after we allow the civilian population to leave the battle zones,” Netanyahu said in a post on X on Wednesday.  

STRIKES BETWEEN ISRAEL AND HEZBOLLAH ARE ESCALATING 

Tents near Rafah, Gaza

A satellite image shows tent shelters for displaced people in Rafah in the Gaza Strip on February 7.  (Reuters/Maxar Technologies)

The head of Egypt’s State Information Service told Reuters that accounts of a border camp being built to shelter Palestinians have “no basis in truth.” But the news agency reported on Monday that the Sinai Foundation for Human Rights – an activist group – had published images it said showed construction trucks and cranes working in the area. 

Free meals in Rafah

Palestinians line up for a free meal in Rafah on Friday, February 16. (AP/Fatima Shbair)

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The group also cited a source saying the work was being done to create a secured area for possible evacuees from the Gaza Strip, Reuters added.



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