The latest on the Israel-Hamas war: Live updates

5:49 p.m. ET, February 9, 2024

“We will have no place to go.” Palestinians in Rafah live in fear as Israel vows to enter southern city

Mohammad Jamal Abu Tour speaks to CNN on February 9 in Rafah, Gaza.


Palestinians in Rafah told CNN they have nowhere to go if Israel were to enter the city in southern Gaza, located near the border with Egypt.

“We are praying to God that what happened in Gaza City does not happen in Rafah –because if the same happens in Rafah we will have no place to go,” Mohammad Jamal Abu Tour said Friday. “Where are we going to go? To Egypt? Only God knows if they will welcome us or not.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday directed the military to plan for the “evacuation of the population” from Rafah, his office said in a statement. On Thursday, he said the Israel Defense Forces would “soon go into Rafah, Hamas’s last bastion.” 

Mahmoud Khalil Amer, who was displaced from the Al Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza, said his staying in a tent near a cemetery in Rafah. 

“I am basically sleeping next to the dead,” he said. “It feels like hell, I feel all the pain, we are not living, the dead are better than us,” he said. “They are rested. But for us, our lives are torture, we can hardly get any water, we don’t have any money. The situation is very bad. The people who used to have stable jobs and income are now suffering and their situation is horrible.”

Abu Mohamed El-Helw, displaced from Khan Younis, said that “there is no place left” for people in Rafah to go “unless they open the borders and let us out.” 

El-Helw said people “are tired from the war” and have become “used to” threats from Israel. 

More than 1.3 million people are believed to be in Rafah, the majority displaced from other parts of Gaza, according to the United Nations. 

CNN’s Mick Krever contributed reporting.

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