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800k Palestinians forced to flee Rafah amid Israel invasion: UNRWA

Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees

A senior UN official says around 800,000 people have been "forced to flee" Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip since the Israeli regime began carrying out ground incursions into the refugee-packed city from various axes.

Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, made the remarks in a post on X, former Twitter, on Saturday.

"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 May 6," he said.

The invasion of the city came amid a genocidal war against Gaza by the regime that has so far claimed the lives of more than 35,300 Palestinians.

Around 1.5 million Palestinians had taken refuge in Rafah prior to the incursions, having fled there from the ravages of the war that began following a retaliatory operation against the occupied territories by Gaza’s resistance groups.

The Gazans, who have now left the city, have fled to "the middle areas and [the southern Gaza city of] Khan Younis, including to destroyed buildings," Lazzarini said.

Al-Mawasi, a 14-square-kilometer town on the coast, as well as the central city of Deir el-Balah, were "crammed" with recently displaced people, he added.

"Every time, they are forced to leave behind the few belongings they have ....Every time, they have to start from scratch, all over again."

The Israeli military has, meanwhile, seized the Rafah crossing in southern Gaza, which borders Egypt and serves as the main point of entry for aid supplies, including fuel, into Palestinian territory.

The move came as part of an all-out siege that the regime has been enforcing against the entire Gaza simultaneously with the war.

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