Israel launches ground attack on Shaboura camp in Rafah as military operation intensifies

Israel launches ground attack on Shaboura camp in Rafah as military operation intensifies
The Shaboura refugee camp in central Rafah has become the latest target of Israel's ferocious offensive on the southern Gaza Strip city
2 min read
12 June, 2024
The Shaboura camp reportedly houses 40,000 Palestinians, many of whom are displaced from other parts of the Gaza Strip [Getty/file photo]

Israeli forces on Wednesday launched ground and air attacks on the Shaboura camp in the city of Rafah, intensifying artillery shelling.

The Israeli army reportedly used drones and bombed homes, The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed said, citing eyewitness reports.

Five residential areas have been destroyed, Palestinian activists said on social media.

The Israeli military also reportedly cordoned off the camp after bringing in more military vehicles, as it continued its attack.

Armed Palestinian groups confronted the attacking Israeli forces,  Al-Araby Al-Jadeed said, without providing further details.

Shaboura is located in central Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city, and does not exceed 15 square kilometres. However 40,000 Palestinians are reportedly living in the camp, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed said.

Most of the Gaza Strip's population fled to Rafah as a result of Israel's indiscriminate war but many have now fled again amid Israel's continuing attacks on the city.

The Shaboura camp was built by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, two years after the devastating events of the Nakba of 1948. Like other refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, it has suffered from neglect and inadequate infrastructure.

The camp has been subject to major attacks since the start of Israel’s military operation in Rafah, on May 7, carried out in violation of an International Court of Justice order requesting the halt of such an attack.

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Over a million Palestinians - many of them already displaced - have been forced to flee Rafah as a result, returning to central and northern parts of Gaza and risking their lives due to the precarious conditions and lack of basic necessities in the area.

Israel’s attacks on Shaboura come as four Israeli soldiers were killed in the camp earlier this week, after a house detonated in the camp.

On Monday evening, Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, said its fighters had booby-trapped a building in the Shaboura refugee camp, in a statement claiming the attack.

On Tuesday, Israel struck a tent camp in Az-Zuwayda beach, in central Gaza, where dozens of forcibly displaced people were sheltering. One person was wounded in the attack, according to video footage by AFP, which showed scores of visibly distressed Palestinians.

Israel has been waging a ferocious and indiscriminate war in the Gaza Strip since October 7, carrying out an air and ground offensive which has killed thousands of Palestinians and flattened most of the territory’s residential areas.

At least 37,202 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the military campaign over eight months ago, and Israel has been accused of genocide and war crimes.