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Exclusive: Israel planning checkpoints to stop men leaving Rafah

Israel is setting up a complex system of checkpoints that will prevent men of “military age” from fleeing Rafah in preparation for its offensive on the southern Gaza border city, a senior western official familiar with Israel’s plans has told Middle East Eye on condition of anonymity.

Exclusive: Israel planning ring of checkpoints to prevent men from fleeing Rafah
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The checkpoints are designed to allow some women and children to leave Rafah ahead of an expected Israeli offensive, but unarmed, civilian Palestinian men will likely be separated from their families and remain trapped in Rafah during an expected Israeli assault.

The previously unreported disclosure of Israel’s construction of a ring of checkpoints around Rafah underscores how Israel is pushing ahead with plans to attack the city where over one million displaced Palestinians are sheltering in tents and makeshift camps.

The creation of gender-based checkpoints around Rafah would put a spotlight back on Israel’s practice of stripping and forcibly detaining male Palestinian men and children, as it faces rising scrutiny in the West of its conduct in the war.

The rounding up of Palestinian males in Gaza and photographing them stripped to their underwear drew condemnation in December, with the US calling the images “deeply disturbing”.

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