Middle East

UN agency says 150,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah

Families packing up, streets significantly emptier, according to spokeswoman Louise Wateridge

Anadolu Staff  | 11.05.2024 - Update : 12.05.2024
UN agency says 150,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah


The UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) on Saturday said around 150,000 Palestinians have left Rafah, the southern Gaza city where an Israeli invasion is underway despite international outcry.

“Everywhere you look now in west Rafah this morning, families are packing up. Streets are significantly emptier,” Louise Wateridge, a UNRWA spokeswoman, said on X.

“UNRWA estimates 150,000 people have now fled Rafah," she added.

“New areas have been issued evacuation orders towards central Rafah in south Gaza and Jabalia in North Gaza,” Wateridge said, referring to instructions by the Israeli military Saturday morning.

Israel has attacked the Gaza Strip in retaliation for an Oct. 7, 2023 cross-border incursion by Hamas which killed around 1,200 people.

Nearly 35,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, have since been killed, and many others injured, according to Palestinian health authorities. Vast swathes of Gaza also lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food and other necessities.

Ahead of its ground assault, Israeli forces this week issued evacuation orders for 100,000 people in eastern Rafah, which is home to some 1.4 million displaced Palestinians.

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

South Africa on Friday asked the ICJ to order Israel to withdraw from Rafah as part of additional emergency measures over the war.

* Writing by Ikram Kouachi

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