Saturday, June 22, 2024

Nearly half of population of Rafah forced to flee: UN

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

“Nearly half of the population of Rafah or 800,000 people are on the road, having been forced to flee since the Israeli Forces started the military operation in the area on 6 May,” Lazzarini stated on Saturday.

“People mainly went to the middle areas and Khan Younis including to destroyed buildings.”

United Nations have appealed and warned Israel, backed by the United States, to cease operations in Rafah, the last refuge for displaced Palestinians in the besieged enclave.

“Since the war in Gaza began, Palestinians have been forced to flee multiple times in search of safety that they have never found, including in UNRWA shelters,” Lazzarini said in the long social media post.

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

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

“The claim that people in Gaza can move to “safe” or “humanitarian” zones is false. Each time, it puts the lives of civilians at serious risk. Gaza does not have any safe zones.  No place is safe.  No one is safe.”

Israel has faced international warnings, including by its top ally the United States, against invading Rafah.

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

“The enemy’s leadership is pushing its soldiers into the alleyway of Gaza to return in coffins, so they can look for the remains of some captives that it [Israel] targeted and killed earlier,” Abu Obaida, the Qassam Brigades spokesperson said in a statement.

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