Rafah aid groups say Israel offensive is driving them out

Israel’s offensive on the southern city of Rafah has tested medical and humanitarian services to breaking point, aid workers say, with only one hospital still functioning and several aid operations forced to move to other parts of the city. Gaza Strip.

The health care crisis in the city has been compounded by the closure of emergency clinics and other services amid ongoing clashes and attacks that have killed dozens of civilians.

On Sunday, an attack that Israel said was aimed at a Hamas compound set fire to a camp for displaced people in Rafah, killing 45 people, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. Another attack on Tuesday in Al-Mawasi, on the outskirts of Rafah, killed 21 people and wounded dozens, the ministry said.

Among the aid operations that closed this week were a field hospital run by the Palestinian Red Crescent, a clinic supported by Doctors Without Borders and kitchens run by World Central Kitchen.

“As Israeli attacks on Rafah intensify, the unpredictable trickle of aid into Gaza has created a mirage of better access, while the humanitarian response is actually on the brink of collapse,” 19 aid groups said in a joint statement. on Tuesday.

Some of the operations that were forced to move occurred in Al-Mawasi, where many civilians and aid workers went because Israel designated part of the area as a humanitarian safe zone. The Israeli military said after Tuesday’s attack that it had not fired on that area. Videos verified by The New York Times indicate that the attack hit near the area, but not within it.

Aid workers have noted how difficult it is for Gazans to determine whether they are in a designated safe zone, as many have limited access to mobile phones or the Internet.

“Civilians are being massacred. “They are being pushed into areas they were told would be safe, only to be subjected to relentless airstrikes and intense fighting,” Chris Lockyear, secretary general of Doctors Without Borders, said in a statement.

Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry, called for safe routes for evacuees, more border crossings to receive aid and more field hospitals in Rafah.

“There is no medical capacity to deal with the successive massacres in Rafah and northern Gaza,” he said.

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