Sunday, May 19, 2024

Gaza death toll nears 35,000, thousands flee Rafah

At least 34,904 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s ongoing aggression against the Gaza Strip since early last October, the Health Ministry in the besieged enclave reported on Thursday.

A ministry statement said that 78,514 other people have been injured in the onslaught.

“At least 60 people were killed and 110 others injured in Israeli attacks in the last 24 hours,” the statement read.

“Many people are still trapped under rubble and on the roads as rescuers are unable to reach them,” it added.

The Israeli army launched an offensive on Tuesday on the southern city of Rafah, where some 1.5 million displaced Palestinians have sheltered, as part of its deadly offensive on the territory following a Hamas attack that killed nearly 1,200 on Oct. 7, 2023.

Over seven months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins, pushing 85% of the enclave’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January said it is “plausible” that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza and ordered Tel Aviv to stop such acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said on Thursday around 80,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah since the start of an Israeli attack on the city on Monday.

“People are facing yet another forced displacement in the Gaza Strip,” UNRWA announced in a statement.

“The toll on these families is unbearable. Nowhere is safe. We need a cease-fire now,” it added.

The Israeli army has also seized control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt, a vital route for humanitarian aid into the besieged territory.

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