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1 million Palestinians have fled Rafah in 3 weeks: UNRWA

Palestinians flee the area of Tal al-Sultan in Rafah with their belongings following renewed Israeli strikes in the city in the southern Gaza Strip on May 28, 2024. (AFP)

The United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) says virtually one million people have fled the southern city of Rafah in the past three weeks.

In a statement released on Tuesday, UNRWA said the flight from Rafah “happened with nowhere safe to go and amidst bombardments, lack of food and water, piles of waste and unsuitable living conditions.”

Providing assistance and protection is becoming nearly “impossible,” the agency stated.

The small city on the southern edge of the Gaza Strip had been sheltering more than a million Palestinians who fled Israeli assaults on other parts of the besieged Palestinian territory.

Since early May, Israel’s military has been carrying out a deadly offensive, which has targeted civilians and dismantle infrastructure in Rafah.

It has told civilians to go to an “expanded humanitarian zone” some 20 kilometers away.

Many Palestinians have complained they are vulnerable to Israeli attacks wherever they go and have been moving up and down the besieged strip in the past few months.

The US-Israeli genocidal war continues for the 235th day, with the focus of the killing and destruction now on the southern city of Rafah.

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Israel’s overnight strikes have killed at least 16 Palestinians over the past few hours. The new attacks came despite an International outcry over Israel’s massacre of over 50 Palestinians who were taking shelter in tents and camps in Rafah.

Residents said in Tal as-Sultan in western Rafah, the scene of Sunday’s deadly strike, was still being heavily bombarded.

“Tank shells are falling everywhere in [Tal as-Sultan]. Many families have fled their houses in western Rafah under fire throughout the night,” one resident was quoted as saying.

The southern city was considered a relatively safe area.

Streets of other Gazan cities and towns are also strewn with rubble and burnt vehicles as a result of nearly eight months of a savage Israeli campaign of death and destruction.

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