Friday, June 14, 2024

Almost 1mn flee Gaza’s Rafah in past 3 weeks amid Israeli offensive

The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has reported that in the past three weeks, nearly 1 million Palestinians have fled Rafah, in southern Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing Israeli incursion into the city.

“In the past 3 weeks around 1 million people have fled Rafah,” UNRWA said in a statement on its X account.

It added that the mass fleeing of people from Rafah takes place despite “nowhere safe to go and amidst bombardment, lack of food and water.”

The agency warned that providing aid and protection to people became “nearly impossible”, and reiterated its call for an immediate cease-fire.

Before the launch of the Israeli military operation against Rafah on May 6, it was home and shelter to over 1.5 million displaced Palestinians who fled their areas across the Gaza Strip due to the Israeli onslaught that started on Oct. 7, 2023.

On Tuesday, the Israeli army began expanding its invasion into Rafah amid heavy shelling and bombing, forcing thousands to flee western Rafah towards Khan Younis and areas in the central Gaza Strip.

Israel’s current expansion of its incursion into Rafah makes the Israeli army close to fully in control of the border area between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, known as the Philadelphi Corridor, a demilitarized buffer zone running along the Gaza-Egypt border.

The Israeli army has so far seized control of almost two-thirds of the corridor area as it advances through heavy bombardment and shelling.

Israel continued its brutal offensive on Gaza despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire.

At least 36,050 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, the vast majority being women and children, and over 81,000 others injured since October following an attack by Hamas.

More than seven months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

Israel stands accused of “genocide” at the International Court of Justice, which has ordered Tel Aviv to ensure its forces do not commit acts of genocide and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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