UN says 800,000 people have fled Rafah as Israel kills dozens in Gaza | Israel’s war against Gaza News

Nearly 800,000 Palestinians have been displaced from Rafah since Israel launched its offensive against the southern Gaza city last week, said Philippe Lazzarini, head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

Lazzarini denounced the repeated displacement of Palestinians in Saturday’s statement.

“Since the war in Gaza began, Palestinians have been forced to flee several times in search of safety they never found, even in UNRWA shelters,” Lazzarini said.

“When people move, they are exposed, without safe passage or protection. Each time, they are forced to leave behind the few belongings they have: mattresses, tents, kitchen utensils and basic supplies that they cannot carry or pay to transport.

“Every time they have to start from scratch, again. “

Heavy fighting broke out across Gaza on Saturday – not just Rafah – and Israeli strikes killed dozens of Palestinians.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said earlier in the day that 83 Palestinians had been killed in the previous 24 hours.

Later on Saturday, Al Jazeera Arab correspondent Ismail Alghoul reported that 40 bodies had arrived at Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza after Israel bombed the Jabalia refugee camp. At least 15 people were killed in an attack.

The Wafa news agency also said four Palestinians were killed during the Israeli bombardment of Khan Younis, north of Rafah, and three others died in the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.

The violence across the territory underscores warnings from humanitarian advocates that there is nowhere safe for the people of Rafah to flee.

Israel has faced international warnings, including from its main ally, the United States, against the Rafah invasion. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government appears to be ignoring those calls and proceeding with the attack.

Last week, Israeli forces seized the Rafah crossing that links Gaza to Egypt. The gate, which had served as a main artery for life-saving aid and an entry and exit point for aid workers, has been closed since May 7.

The closure of the Rafah crossing has trapped thousands of sick and injured Palestinians who may have had the opportunity to leave Gaza for treatment abroad.

Before the attack began, Rafah was home to 1.5 million people, most of whom had been displaced from other parts of Gaza.

Throughout the war, Israel has ordered Palestinian civilians in Gaza to move south while invading the territory from the north.

Many residents were displaced first to the middle part of the enclave and then moved to the southern city of Khan Younis. In the end they were forced to flee back to Rafah. Now the people of Rafah are fleeing north.

Netanyahu has portrayed Rafah as the last Hamas stronghold in the territory. But as the Israeli army invades the city, fighting intensifies in Jabalia and the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City, in the north of the enclave.

Israel said in January that it had dismantled Hamas’ “military framework” in the north.

On Saturday, the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, claimed responsibility for several attacks against Israeli forces, including military vehicles using rocket-propelled grenades in Rafah and Jabalia. The group also said it killed 20 Israeli soldiers in two separate operations in Rafah.

For its part, the Israeli military announced that it has recovered the remains of Israeli captive Ron Binyamin, who it said was killed during the October 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel.

Israel had said a day earlier that it found the bodies of three other captives based on new intelligence.

But Hamas appeared to downplay the Israeli announcement.

“The enemy leadership is pushing their soldiers into the Gaza alley to return in coffins, so that they can search for the remains of some captives that (Israel) attacked and killed earlier,” Abu Obaida, spokesman for the Qassam Brigades, said in a statement. release. .

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