Israeli assault on Rafah would result in’disaster’ to Middle East, aid group states

An Israeli assault on southern Gaza’s Rafah region, would lead to a massive disaster for civilians, not just in Gaza but all over the Middle East, the head of an aid group stated, on Friday, warning us that the area had to deal with a “countdown to an even greater conflict”.

Jan Egeland, the Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said to Reuters that 1.3 million civilians wanting to have refuge in Rafah – which includes his aid group’s staff – were living in “indescribable fear” of an Israeli offensive.

Israel has stepped up airstrikes on Rafah this week after saying it would save civilians ahead of an all-out assault, despite allies’ warnings this could lead to mass casualties.

The NRC head talked to Reuters in Lebanon, where he went to southern villages that he said were caught in a “horrific crossfire” between the Israeli military and Lebanese armed group Hezbollah. The exchanges of fire have been happening in parallel with the Gaza war, and have had a rise in the past days.

“I am quite worried, that we haven’t learned from 2006,” said Egeland, referring to the month-long war between Iranian-backed Hezbollah and Israel that was the two foes’ last bloody confrontation, during which he headed the United Nations’ relief operations.

Israel’s campaign has murdered exceeding than 34,300 Palestinians, Gaza health authorities reveal and laid waste to much of the widely urbanised enclave, displacing most of its 2.3 million people and leaving many with very less food, water or medical care and the basic requirements are not met.