Battle for Rafah: A Geospatial Analysis

The southern Palestinian city of Rafah hosted a pre-war population of approximately 152,000 people. That number now stands at over 1.5 million. Driven south by the leapfrog-style campaigns of the IDF, the city is packed with refugees. The refugee inflow is extensive, so much so that it is now visible from space. Decision makers in Tel Aviv are adamant that Israeli forces will eventually clear the city right up to the Egyptian border. The War in Gaza is a humanitarian catastrophe, already ongoing, and is set to vastly deteriorate in Rafah. Additionally, we examine and assess the expected ground assault and its humanitarian implications. Likewise, we assess the potential Egyptian response and avenues for disengagement.

Key Judgement-1. It is highly likely that the IDF ground assault on Rafah will result in higher civilian casualties than all other major population centres in the Gaza Strip combined.

Key Judgement-2. It is unlikely that IDF ground operations in Rafah will precipitate an armed Egyptian response into Gaza or southern Israel.

Key Judgement-3. It is highly unlikely that complete Israeli control over Rafah will result in the end of Israeli combat operations in the Gaza Strip.

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