Egypt Prepares Shelter Area at Gaza Border for Potential Palestinian Refugees, Sources Report

Egypt Prepares Shelter Area at Gaza Border for Potential Palestinian Refugees, Sources Report

Tel-Aviv/Cairo - Egypt is reportedly establishing a zone along the Gaza border to potentially accommodate Palestinians in the event of an Israeli offensive into Rafah leading to an exodus across the frontier, sources revealed, describing it as a precautionary measure by Cairo.

While Egypt has denied such preparations, it has consistently expressed concern over the prospect of Israel's Gaza offensive displacing Palestinians into Sinai, which Cairo strongly opposes, echoing warnings from Arab nations like Jordan.

The United States has reiterated its opposition to any displacement of Palestinians from Gaza.

According to sources, Egypt remains hopeful that ongoing ceasefire talks will prevent such a scenario. However, it is taking steps to prepare an area at the border as a temporary contingency measure.

Security sources stated that Egypt has initiated preparations in a desert area with basic facilities that could serve as shelters for Palestinians, emphasizing that this is a precautionary measure.

Sources speaking to Reuters, as reported by the agency declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Israel has announced its intention to launch an offensive to dismantle Hamas's stronghold in Rafah, where over a million Palestinians have sought refuge from the devastating Gaza offensive.

The Israeli army is reportedly devising a plan to evacuate civilians from Rafah to other parts of the Gaza Strip.

However, UN aid chief Martin Griffiths cautioned that it would be unrealistic to expect people in Gaza to evacuate to safety and warned of the possibility of Palestinians fleeing into Egypt if Israel launches a military operation in Rafah, describing it as "a sort of Egyptian nightmare".

Construction of the camp reportedly began recently, offering temporary shelter until a resolution is reached.

Egypt's State Information Service head dismissed reports of preparations, stating that neither Egypt nor Palestinian authorities had made any preparations for such a scenario.

The Sinai Foundation for Human Rights published images showing construction activity in the area, suggesting it was intended to create a secure space in case of a mass Palestinian exodus.

Israel has emphasized the need to expand its operation into Rafah to eliminate Hamas, the group responsible for the recent attack that resulted in numerous casualties in Israel.

With concerns mounting over the fate of those sheltering in Rafah, including from Israel's Western allies, U.S. President Joe Biden has urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ensure the safety of those in Rafah before proceeding with any operation.

The U.S. State Department reiterated its opposition to the forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza and denied funding camps for displaced Palestinians in Egypt.

Netanyahu's office has instructed the army to devise an evacuation plan for Rafah, but no plan has been finalized yet.

The Gaza conflict has strained relations between Egypt and Israel, which have maintained a peace treaty since 1979.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit warned that Israeli actions jeopardize agreements with Egypt and Jordan, both of which have peace treaties with Israel.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry affirmed Egypt's commitment to the peace treaty with Israel, provided both sides uphold their commitments.

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