Over 1,10,000 people flee Rafah as conflict escalates: UNRWA

"The only hope is an immediate ceasefire" says UNRWA, emphasising the perilous living conditions in Rafah

People flee Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip amid Israeli military advances (photo: @UNRWA/X)
People flee Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip amid Israeli military advances (photo: @UNRWA/X)


Some 1,10,000 people have left Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip since the Israeli army started advancing on the city, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said on Friday, 10 May.

"UNRWA estimates around 1,10,000 people have now fled Rafah looking for safety," the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said in a post on the X platform.

"But nowhere is safe in the Gaza Strip & living conditions are atrocious," the post continued. "The only hope is an immediate ceasefire."

According to the Palestinian border authority, the Rafah border crossing to Egypt remains closed to humanitarian aid deliveries.

The Israeli army said that troops were still deployed in the east of the city of Rafah and Al-Saitun in the centre of the Gaza Strip.

In Rafah, the army had located several tunnel entrances. During battles on the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing to Egypt, "several terrorist cells were eliminated."

The Israeli air force also attacked several areas in the Rafah area from which rockets and mortar shells had been fired at Israel in recent days.

The Kerem Shalom border crossing, which serves as an important crossing point for humanitarian aid into the blockaded coastal strip, was also targeted.

In al-Saitun, the army "eliminated several terrorists and destroyed terrorist infrastructure," it was also reported. The air force had attacked around 40 targets in the Gaza Strip within 24 hours.

On Monday, the Israeli military called on residents of the eastern part of Rafah to leave the area.

More than 1 million internally displaced persons are said to be living in Rafah.

Israel's Western partners, above all the United States, have urgently warned the Israeli government against a large-scale military operation in Rafah due to the expected dramatic humanitarian consequences.

Following the massacres in Israel on October 7, Israel wants to completely destroy the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement, whose leaders it suspects are hiding in tunnels under Rafah, where Israeli hostages are presumably also being held.

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Published: 10 May 2024, 3:58 PM