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Gaza: 80,000 displaced from Rafah as Israeli bombardment intensifies, say UN aid teams

Most of those uprooted by Israeli military evacuation orders in eastern Rafah have already been displaced from other areas of Gaza; they are now leaving with everything they can carry “in vehicles, trucks, (on) motorbikes and donkey carts”, according to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

More than 47,500 people are estimated to have left their shelters in Rafah on Wednesday alone, UNRWA said, with some families approaching the agency’s shelters at Tel Sultan, as well as Al Mawasi in the west.

Bombs all around

In an update, UNRWA noted “an ongoing and significant amount of bombardment” in eastern Rafah early Thursday “and all through the night”.

The development comes as UN humanitarians repeated warnings about the lack of desperately needed aid reaching highly vulnerable people in Gaza, despite reports that the Kerem Shalom crossing near Rafah had reopened. 

“We are engaging with all involved on the resumption of the entry of goods, including fuel, and so that we can again begin managing incoming supplies,” said the UN aid coordination office, OCHA late Wednesday. “However, the situation remains extremely fluid and we continue to confront a range of challenges, amid active hostilities. We count on cooperation and facilitation to get these crossings operational again since stocks of critical supplies, including fuel, are being depleted by the hour.”

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Kerem Shalom crossing had been closed following a deadly rocket attack claimed by Hamas last weekend. It is next to Rafah which is the main entry point for aid into Gaza and which was seized on Tuesday by Israeli forces, dashing ceasefire hopes.

Northern aid delays

According to OCHA, more than a quarter of humanitarian missions to northern Gaza in April “were impeded by Israeli authorities, and 10 percent were denied…The UN and humanitarian partners continue efforts to scale up aid operations whenever and wherever possible.”

On Wednesday the UN World Food Programme (WFP) reported that it had reached Beit Hanoun, in northern Gaza “which had been inaccessible for months”.

In a message on X, the agency said that it was ready to scale up food assistance across northern Gaza, “but rolling back six months months of starvation requires steady flows of food supplies. Safe, lasting access needs to be sustained over time”.

West Bank violence unabated

As war continues in Gaza, the UN rights office, OHCHR, warned that violations against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have also increased substantially.

“The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) is acting as if there is an armed conflict in the West Bank,” said Ajith Sunghay, head of the OHCHR office in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in an interview with UN News.

Mr. Sunghay explained that the situation in the West Bank was already very dire even before hostilities erupted in Gaza following the Hamas-led attacks in southern Israel that left some 1,250 dead and more than 250 taken hostage.


In its latest update on the situation in the West Bank, the UN aid office OCHA noted that the Israeli Supreme Court had ruled in favour of the return of 360 Palestinians to their homes in Khirbet Zanouta herding community in Hebron, six months after being displaced by settler attacks.


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