May 6, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Calls on Civilians to Evacuate Rafah

May 6, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Calls on Civilians to Evacuate Rafah

Latest Developments

Israel called on Gazan civilians to evacuate the eastern part of the city of Rafah ahead of a limited operation by Israeli forces, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on May 6. The IDF dropped fliers over eastern Rafah and also made phone calls to encourage non-combatants to leave the area.

Hours after Israel began stepping up its preparations, Hamas claimed that it accepted a ceasefire deal at ongoing negotiations in Egypt. However, a subsequent statement from the Israeli prime minister’s office emphasized that Hamas had not agreed to Israel’s “core demands,” meaning that preparations for an offensive on Rafah — the last bastion of Hamas in Gaza — would continue. At the same time, the office stressed that it was dispatching a team of negotiators to Cairo in order to “exhaust the possibility of reaching an agreement under conditions acceptable to Israel.”

Israel’s decision to begin ramping up for military operations in Rafah came a day after Hamas launched 10 projectiles from the city, killing four IDF soldiers. Hamas is believed to have four battalions of fighters in Rafah. Around 100,000 people are estimated to be affected by the evacuation order. “The IDF will continue to operate in order to realize the goals of the war, including the dismantling of Hamas and the return of all the hostages,” the IDF said.

Expert Analysis

“Hamas is playing the most sinister of games. The terrorist leaders know that the over 130 hostages are an Achilles’ heel for the Jewish state, and it will continue to manipulate Jerusalem by dangling the lives of their captives before the people of Israel.” Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“The decision to evacuate eastern Rafah is an important step in securing the defeat of Hamas. The terrorist organization hides behind civilians in Rafah and uses its control of the southern border crossing to hijack humanitarian aid.” — Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

Israeli Defense Minister Speaks to U.S. Secretary of Defense

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant spoke to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin overnight on May 5-6 and described Israel’s war aims in Rafah. Gallant said that “military action is required, including in the area of Rafah, [for] lack of an alternative. Hamas continues to conduct attacks on the State of Israel and its citizens, while also indicating a lack of seriousness in regard to the frameworks that were submitted for the release of hostages.” He said that Israel will “not tolerate the ongoing presence of terrorist frameworks bordering its communities and is committed to achieving the goals of the war—the destruction of Hamas as a military and governing authority, and the return of 132 hostages.”

IDF Strikes Hamas Positions in Rafah Ahead of Planned Offensive,” FDD Flash Brief

Terrorists Attack U.S. Pier Under Construction Off Gaza Coast,” FDD Flash Brief

Egypt Seeks Hostage Negotiations Breakthrough,” FDD Flash Brief


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