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Egypt to prevent exodus of Palestinians from Gaza

Egyptian authorities will take a series of measures on Tuesday to prevent a mass flight of refugees from the Gaza Strip to the Sinai Peninsula as Israeli bombardment prevented passage through the Rafah border crossing, the main exit point from the besieged region, Gaza officials and Egyptian security sources said.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a statement on Tuesday that the escalation in the Gaza Strip was “extremely dangerous” and that Egypt was pursuing a negotiated solution to the violence with regional and international partners. Sisi notes that Egypt will not allow the issue to be resolved at the expense of others, in an apparent reference to the possibility that Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of the Gaza Strip could push Palestinians into the Sinai.

According to Ahmed Salem, spokesman for the Sinai Foundation for Human Rights, the Egyptian army has taken up new positions near the border. It is also engaged in patrolling the territory.

Rafah is the only possible crossing point to Sinai for Gaza’s 2.3 million residents. The rest of the region borders the sea and Israel that declared a total blockade of Gaza and could launch a ground offensive.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Israeli military reconsidered a recommendation by one of its spokesmen that Palestinians fleeing airstrikes in the Gaza Strip should head to Egypt.

Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip have killed 1,055 people, while Hamas attacks on Israel have killed at least 1,200, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

The UN humanitarian office says about 800 people left Gaza through the Rafah crossing on Monday and about 500 entered, although the crossing was closed to the movement of goods.

A rare occasion in media history where a Palestinian has been able to speak freely on live TV without being interrupted. Mustafa Barghouti, gen. sec. of the Palestinian National Initiative, gave evidence-based replies on Palestine during a live CNN interview that has gone viral: pic.twitter.com/nkWeyhPlBX — The New Arab (@The_NewArab) October 9, 2023

According to press reports, the governor of North Sinai met with local authorities to draw up a crisis plan to deal with events in Gaza. So far, there have been no signs of mass Palestinian crowds at the Rafah crossing, with only routine exits continuing until Tuesday.

Israel is pounding the Gaza Strip in the worst strikes in the 75-year history of its conflict with the Palestinians, after a massive Hamas incursion into Israel killed hundreds of Israelis on Saturday.

Egypt, the first Arab country to make peace with Israel, has mediated between Israel and Palestinian factions during previous conflicts in Gaza and has sought to prevent further escalation of the current fighting.

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