LEICESTER, United Kingdom – Britain’s leading Catholic international aid agency says the current situation in the Rafah area of Gaza is a “cut and paste” kind of terror.

The quote came from CAFOD’s local partner in the Palestinian territory after Israel announced it has taken “operational control” of the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing into Egypt, a leading entry for urgent humanitarian aid.

“Our partner’s local Rafah office had to be dismantled and moved several miles away, draining resources and precious time that should be spent getting essential aid to people who are starving. Fuel shortages further compound this crisis, with only two days’ supply remaining,” said Elizabeth Funnell, CAFOD’s Middle East representative.

CAFOD is an agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

Israel said on Tuesday it killed 20 Hamas fighters in Rafah overnight. On Monday, it told around 100,000 people in the eastern part of Rafah to move to expanded “humanitarian areas” ahead of an offensive. Rafah’s population has already grown to 1.4 million people after it housed other parts of Gaza fleeing the Israeli offensive.

Israel launched the current offensive in Gaza in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, which killed around 1,200 people. An estimated 35,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, with nearly 2 million people displaced in the Gaza Strip.

Hospitals have been destroyed, and humanitarian aid has had problems in reaching the region.

“Continued interruption of the entry of aid and fuel supplies at the Rafah crossing will halt the critical humanitarian response across the Gaza Strip,” said a statement from UNRWA, the United Nations refugee agency for Palestinians.

“The catastrophic hunger faced by people especially in northern Gaza will get much worse if these supply routes are interrupted,” the UN agency said on X, formally known as Twitter.

CAFOD says two million are facing “catastrophic levels” of hunger.

“People in Gaza are starving. Our partners tell us that the daily struggle to secure bread is exhausting. However, they are continuing to respond urgently and they have been clear that with more funds, they can do more to meet the desperate needs and provide essential items to their communities,” Funnell said.

The Catholic aid agency’s Middle East representative said the recent fighting in Rafah is making the situation worse.

“There is nowhere left to host the people now being displaced from Rafah, and aid workers are facing impossible choices about whether to reopen damaged shelters that aren’t safe to house people,” Funnell said.

“There is no way that a ground offensive in Rafah will be anything but catastrophic for civilians. With nearly 35,000 lives lost already, CAFOD is urging the UK to wake up to their complicity through arms sales to Israel, which must end now,” she continued.

“The UK government must exert every diplomatic effort to halt the attack on Rafah, agree an immediate, permanent ceasefire which includes the release of all hostages, ensure aid access now and restore UK funding to UNRWA,” Funnell said.

Follow Charles Collins on X: @CharlesinRome