Touring a wasteland in Gaza

This past Wednesday, in open-top Humvees, Israel’s military escorted foreign journalists into Rafah, the city on Gaza’s southern border with Egypt. They wanted to show what they’ve accomplished since launching their ground offensive there in May.


CBS News

Israel ignored the objections of the U.S., its closest ally, by pushing forward with its assault on Rafah. More than a million people were sheltering in the city before the offensive, many in camps. They evacuated again to avoid being caught up in the fighting.

Israel said it had to go into Rafah because Hamas’ four remaining battalions were hiding there, using tunnels connected to Egypt to smuggle in weapons. Israeli soldiers told us they’ve uncovered a “terror ecosystem” underneath the city.

Israel’s military said they discovered one such tunnel used by Hamas in the last couple of weeks.

Correspondent Holly Williams points out a tunnel used by Hamas in Rafah. 

CBS News

The Israelis also claim that in Rafah they’ve killed more than 900 militants. But they’ve also killed civilians. At least 45 people died in a fire triggered by an air strike in May, according to the Hamas-aligned health ministry.  

The neighborhood we saw is shattered and unlivable. There is destruction on a scale that is impossible to adequately put into words.

The city of Rafah, which has been decimated since the Israeli offensive against Hamas began in May. 

CBS News

This is now a wasteland. The only people seen here are Israeli soldiers.

We did not see any of the militants who are still fighting, but we heard sporadic outgoing gunfire from the Israeli side, including as we interviewed Real Admiral Daniel Hagari, a spokesman for Israel’s military.

Williams asked, “As an Israeli, how do you feel about the fact that so many Americans are now condemning what Israel is doing in Gaza?”

“I think it’s something that we need to be better in explaining ourselves to the world,” Hagari said amid gunfire. “United States is the biggest ally of Israel.”

After that, we were told to move.

The fight for Rafah isn’t over yet – Hamas leaders are still at large – and this bloody war has now been raging for nine months.

Departing Rafah.

CBS News

Story produced by Paolo Marenghi. Editor: Brian Robbins. 

See also: 

Source link