Egypt is preparing an area at the Gaza border which could accommodate Palestinians in case an Israeli offensive into Rafah prompts an exodus across the frontier, four sources said, in what they described as a contingency move by Cairo.

Egypt, which denied making any such preparations, has repeatedly raised the alarm over the possibility that Israel's devastating Gaza offensive could displace Palestinians into Sinai — something Cairo says would be completely unacceptable — echoing warnings from Arab states such as Jordan.

The United States has repeatedly said it would oppose any displacement of Palestinians out of Gaza.