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Egypt moves to prevent mass exodus from Gaza

The Gaza strip has been placed under siege by Israel following an assault by Hamas. 10/2023   -  
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Egypt is moving to prevent a mass exodus of Palestinians from Gaza, as Israel's bombardment of the strip continued on Wednesday.

While Egypt has not officially commented on the situation at Rafah, state-run Ahram Online published a story on Tuesday citing a warning by high-level Egyptian security sources that the country "refuses to allow Gazans to settle in Sinai", and urged Israel to instead provide safe passage for civilians.

On Tuesday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that the escalation in Gaza was "highly dangerous" and that Egypt was pursuing a negotiated solution to the violence with regional and international partners.

The United Nations has said that more than 187000 Palestinians are displaced in Gaza, which has a total population of 2.3 million people.

The passage of people and goods in and out of Gaza is strictly controlled under a blockade enforced by Egypt and Israel.

Rafah is the only possible crossing point into Sinai from Gaza, with the rest of the strip surrounded by sea and by Israel, which announced a total siege of Gaza on Monday and could launch a ground offensive.

While there has been no sign so far of a mass exodus at the crossing, it remained shut on Wednesday with the Egyptian military taking up new positions close to the border to monitor the situation.

Egypt is particularly wary of a deterioration of the security situation in Sinai. 

The area has the site of an Islamist insurgency that flared a decade ago. While the Egyptian military has largely asserted its control over northern Sinai in recent years, it still faces sporadic attacks.

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