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Nearly 1 Million Evacuated from Rafah by IDF in Two-Week Operation

Nearly a million Gazans evacuated from Rafah

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have reported serious progress in their operations in the Gaza Strip since May 6, having evacuated approximately 950,000 Palestinian civilians within two weeks.

Around 30-40% of Rafah is now under IDF control, and about 60-70% of the city has been evacuated. The remaining civilian population in Rafah, estimated between 300,000 and 400,000, is concentrated near the Tel al-Sultan area by the Gaza coast.

Gazans evacuated from Rafah

This large-scale evacuation contradicts earlier US predictions that such an operation would either result in a high death toll or require up to four months. Most evacuees have moved northwest to al-Muwasi, with a smaller number relocating to central Gaza, and very few returning to Khan Yunis.

Despite facing resistance from four Hamas battalions in Rafah, the IDF has reportedly surprised these units, leading to their fragmentation and attempts to transition to guerrilla warfare.

The IDF has also gained control over most of the Philadelphi Corridor along the Egypt border, destroying many cross-border tunnels used by Hamas to receive weapons, though the exact number of remaining tunnels is unclear.

Relations between the IDF and Egypt remain stable despite the operation and Egypt’s closure of the Rafah Crossing for humanitarian aid. There have been no important incidents of Palestinians entering Egypt, addressing one of Cairo’s primary concerns.

The status of hostages held by Hamas in Rafah remains uncertain, and the whereabouts of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar are still unknown. The IDF has destroyed a substantial number of rockets and launch platforms in Rafah, and similar progress has been reported in Jabalia, where the IDF recently launched a reinvasion.

The IDF is now focusing on dismantling the remaining Hamas battalions in central Gaza, aiming to achieve the strategic goal of dismantling Hamas as a military organization.

However, other objectives, such as removing Hamas from political power and securing the release of hostages, remain unresolved. Predictions indicate that dealing with a Hamas insurgency may require extensive military efforts at least until October.

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