Publish dateSunday 19 May 2024 - 14:10
Story Code : 290614
UN Says 800,000 Fled Gaza
Nearly 800,000 Palestinians have been displaced from Rafah in the Southern Gaza since Israel launched its offensive against the city last week, head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini stated.
Afghan voice Agency (AVA)-Monitoring: Lazzarini decried the repeated displacement of Palestinians in the statement on Saturday.
“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.
“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," he continued.
“Every time, they have to start from scratch, all over again,” he added.
Saturday saw intense fighting across Gaza – not just in Rafah – with Israeli attacks killing dozens of Palestinians.
The violence throughout the territory stresses humanitarian advocates’ warnings that there is nowhere safe for people in Rafah to flee to.
Israel has faced international warnings, including by its top ally the United States, against invading Rafah. But the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be ignoring those calls and proceeding with the assault.
Last week, Israeli soldiers seized the Rafah crossing that links Gaza to Egypt. The gate, which had served as a major artery for life-saving aid and an entry and exit point for humanitarian 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 a chance to leave the besieged enclave to receive treatment abroad.
Before the assault 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 as it invaded the territory from the North.
Many residents were first displaced to the middle part of the enclave and then moved to the Southern city of Khan Younis. They were ultimately forced to flee again to Rafah. Now people from Rafah are fleeing northward.
Netanyahu has portrayed Rafah as the last Hamas stronghold in the territory. But as the Israeli Army invades the city, fighting is raging in Jabalia and the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City in the North of the tiny enclave./Fars
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