Around 80,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah since the start of an Israeli offensive on the city in the southern Gaza Strip on May 6, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said on Thursday.

‘People are facing yet another forced displacement in the Gaza Strip,’ UNRWA said in a statement.

‘The toll on these families is unbearable. Nowhere is safe. We need a cease-fire now.’

The Israeli army on Tuesday seized control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt, a vital route for humanitarian aid into the besieged territory.

The move came one day after the army issued evacuation orders for Palestinians in eastern Rafah, a move widely seen as a prelude to Israel’s long-feared attack on the city, where some 1.5 million displaced Palestinians have sheltered.

Israel has killed more than 34,800 Palestinians, the vast majority of whom have been women and children, and injured over 78,400 others following a Hamas attack last Oct. 7, which claimed 1,200 lives.

Over seven months int
o the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins, pushing 85% of the enclave’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January said it is “plausible” that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza and ordered Tel Aviv to stop such acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

Source: National News Agency – Lebanon