Mass Exodus from Rafah: UN Reports 800,000 Displaced as Gaza Suffers Fatal Israeli Attacks

In the central Gaza Strip, smoke billows after an Israeli airstrike on May 18, 2024 [Abdel Kareem Hana/AP].

Over the past week, approximately 800,000 Palestinians have been displaced from Rafah in the southern Gaza city due to Israel’s offensive, according to Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the UNRWA.

Lazzarini expressed deep sorrow over the consistent displacement of Palestinians in a statement issued on Saturday.

“Throughout the conflict in Gaza, Palestinians have had to flee multiple times in search of safety, but they have never found it, even in UNRWA shelters,” Lazzarini remarked.

“They are left vulnerable when they move with no protection or safe passage. Each time, they must leave behind their meager possessions like mattresses, tents, and cooking supplies, unable to afford transport.”

“Every instance leaves them to start anew.” remarked Lazzarini.

On Saturday, fierce battles erupted across Gaza, culminating in dozens of Palestinian deaths due to Israeli attacks.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 83 Palestinians were reported dead in the previous 24 hours.

Al Jazeera reported that 40 bodies arrived at Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza after an attack on the Jabalia refugee camp. Meanwhile, Wafa news reported further casualties in other areas.

The ongoing violence in Gaza underscores the struggle for people in Rafah to find a safe haven.

Despite international warnings, including from the United States, Israel continues its aggression in Rafah, disregarding calls for restraint.

The closure of the Rafah crossing has left many sick and injured Palestinians stranded, unable to seek treatment abroad.

Prior to the conflict, Rafah was inhabited by 1.5 million people who had been displaced from other regions in Gaza.

Throughout the war, Israeli forces have pushed Palestinian civilians southward, with several displacements within the enclave.

Netanyahu has labeled Rafah as a key Hamas stronghold, though fighting has intensified in other parts of Gaza.

On Saturday, Hamas’s military wing claimed several attacks on Israeli forces in Rafah and Jabalia, including the targeting of military vehicles.

The Israeli army announced the recovery of the remains of an Israeli captive and dismissed Hamas’s role in the matter.

Hamas downplayed the significance of the Israeli announcement, criticizing Israel for endangering its soldiers in Gaza.

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