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UNRWA chief says Israeli operation in Rafah forced 8L people to flee area

UNRWA chief says Israeli operation in Rafah forced 8L people to flee area

Gaza, May 19 (UNI) Up to 800,000 people have been forced to leave the southern Gaza city of Rafah since the beginning of the Israeli operation in the area, UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said on Saturday.
"Once again, 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. In response to evacuation orders demanding people to flee to so-called safe zones, people mainly went to the middle areas and Khan Younis including to destroyed buildings," Lazzarini said on X.
On October 7, 2023, Palestinian movement Hamas launched a large-scale rocket attack against Israel and breached the border, attacking both civilian neighborhoods and military bases. Nearly 1,200 people in Israel were killed and some 240 others were abducted during the attack. Israel launched retaliatory strikes, ordered a complete blockade of Gaza, and started a ground incursion into the Palestinian enclave with the declared goal of eliminating Hamas fighters and rescuing the hostages. Over 35,200 people have been killed so far by Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip, local authorities said. More than 100 hostages are still believed to be held by Hamas in Gaza.
In the early hours of May 7, the Israel Defense Forces launched what it called a counterterrorist operation in the east of Rafah and took control of the Gaza side of the border crossing with Egypt. Later that week, Israeli media reported that Israel's military cabinet had approved expanding the ground operation. Israeli authorities say the operation is aimed at eliminating the remaining battalions of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
UNI/SPUTNIK AKS

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