Thousands flee northern Gaza on foot as desperation grows due to dwindling supplies and Israeli advances
KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip (AP) — Thousands of Palestinians have fled the northern Gaza Strip on foot, the United Nations said Wednesday, with desperation growing due to dwindling food and water supplies, intense bombardment and the enclave’s approach. Israeli forces and tanks.
More than 70% of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have already left their homes, but the number of people heading south has accelerated recently, with the war sparked by Hamas. October 7 attack inside Israel Entering its second month with no end in sight to the fighting, an increasingly dire humanitarian situation is unfolding within the besieged Palestinian enclave.
International pressure on Israel regarding the plight of civilians has escalated, with the Group of Seven industrialized countries Call Wednesday For the “unhindered” delivery of food, water, medicine and fuel, and for a “humanitarian truce” to the fighting. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far resisted such calls Leave the field open to possibility Smaller breaks in combat.
Israel said that its war to end Hamas’ rule and crush its military capabilities would be long and difficult, and that it would continue to do so A form of control over the coastal enclave indefinitely – Although how to achieve this is still unclear. Support for war It is still strong inside IsraelThe focus was on the fate of more than 240 hostages held by Hamas and other armed groups.
About 15,000 people fled northern Gaza on Tuesday – three times the number who left on Monday – according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. They use Gaza’s main north-south highway during a four-hour daily grace period announced by Israel.
The UN agency said that those fleeing included children, the elderly and people with disabilities, and most of them walked carrying their minimum belongings. Some say they had to cross Israeli checkpoints, where they saw people being arrested, while others raised their hands in the air and White flags were raised as they passed Israeli tanks.
Hundreds of Trucks carrying aid They have been allowed to enter Gaza from Egypt since October 21. But humanitarian workers say aid falls far short of growing needs.
Residents reported loud explosions overnight into Wednesday across Gaza City and in the Beach refugee camp, which houses Palestinian families. Those who fled or were expelled of what is now known as Israel during the 1948 war surrounding its creation.
Muhammad Abed, who lives in Gaza City, said, “The bombing was intense and close.”
Army spokesman Admiral Daniel Hagari said late Tuesday that Israeli ground forces had reached “deep in Gaza City.” The Israeli army announced on Wednesday that it had killed one of Hamas’s most prominent developers of rockets and other weapons, without saying where he was killed.
Hamas denied that Israeli forces made any significant gains or entered Gaza City. It was not possible to independently confirm the battlefield claims from either side.
Israel is focusing its operations on Gaza City, which was inhabited by about 650,000 people before the war and where the army says Hamas has its central leadership and location. A vast maze of tunnels. Hundreds of thousands have responded to Israeli orders to flee the north in recent weeks, even though Israel routinely bombs what it says are militant targets in the south, often killing civilians.
However, tens of thousands of Palestinians remain in the north, many of them taking refuge in hospitals or UN schools. The north has been suffering from a lack of running water for weeks, and the United Nations aid office said that the last operating bakeries closed their doors on Tuesday. Lack of fuel, water and flour. She added that hospitals suffering from a lack of supplies are performing surgeries – including amputations – without anesthesia.
Majed Haroun, who lives in Gaza City, said that women and children go from house to house asking for food, while those in shelters rely on local donations.
Amir Al-Ghalban, who pushed an older relative in a wheelchair on Gaza’s main highway, said they had each been living on one piece of bread a day for the past three years. “The majority of people have left their lands because the blockade in Gaza has become absolute. We have no water, no electricity, and no flour.
The situation is little better in the south, where hundreds of thousands of displaced people are crowded into makeshift shelters. At one time, 600 people must share one toilet, according to the United Nations office.
An airstrike in the southern town of Khan Yunis, early Wednesday, destroyed a house and damaged others. First responders took the bodies of six people pulled from the rubble, including two women and a child, to a nearby hospital, according to an Associated Press reporter who saw them arrive. The death toll was expected to rise.
A month of continuous bombardment on Gaza since the Hamas attack has killed more than 10,500 Palestinians – two-thirds of them women and minors, according to estimates. Ministry of Health in Hamas-controlled areas. More than 2,300 people are believed to have been buried by the strikes, which in some cases destroyed entire residential complexes in the city.
More than 1,400 people have died in Israel since the beginning of the war, most of them civilians killed by the occupation forces. Hamas activists During the October 7 incursion. Dozens of hostages were also taken that day. Israel says that 32 of its soldiers have been killed in Gaza since the start of the ground attack, and Palestinian militants continue to fire rockets at Israel on a daily basis.
Israeli officials say that thousands of Palestinian militants have been killed, and they blame the civilian deaths on Hamas, accusing it of endangering civilians by operating in residential areas. The Ministry of Health in Gaza does not distinguish between civilians and combatants in its reports on casualties.
The war has It raised broader tensionsWith Israel and Lebanon Hezbollah armed group Shooting exchanged along the border. More than 160 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli-occupied West Bank since the start of the war, especially during violent protests and gun battles with Israeli forces during arrest raids. About 250 thousand Israelis They had to evacuate From communities located along the borders with Gaza and Lebanon.
Magdy reported from Cairo. Associated Press writer Amy Table in Jerusalem contributed to this report.
Complete AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war