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Israel Orders Evacuation of Khan Younis, Affecting 250,000 Palestinians Amid Intensifying Gaza Conflict

ByAdmin

Jul 2, 2024
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Jakarta, Kowantaranews.com   -In the latest development of the prolonged Israel-Gaza conflict, the Israeli army has issued fresh evacuation orders for the city of Khan Younis, the second-largest city in the Gaza Strip. This directive could potentially displace up to a quarter of a million Palestinians, who are already enduring harsh conditions and have limited options for safe refuge. The United Nations has expressed grave concerns over the humanitarian impact of this mass movement, warning that many evacuees have nowhere to go.

The evacuation order came after a barrage of at least 20 rockets was launched from the Khan Younis area towards Israeli communities bordering Gaza. Although no injuries were reported, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) responded with strikes against the sources of the rocket fire. This action indicates that Israel might be preparing for further military operations in Khan Younis, targeting regrouping Hamas militants.

“For your safety, you must evacuate immediately to the humanitarian zone,” posted Avichay Adraee, the IDF’s Arabic-language spokesman, on social media. As the conflict stretches into its tenth month, Gazan civilians have been corralled into increasingly cramped and dire living conditions. Many are pitching tents in the rubble of previously destroyed areas or along the seashore, where high tide often swamps their temporary shelters.

The situation is particularly dire for those who had already fled to Khan Younis from Rafah after it was heavily targeted by Israel in May. At that time, around a million people were forced to flee within weeks, turning Rafah into a final refuge that has since been compromised. Louise Wateridge, a spokeswoman for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), highlighted the severe humanitarian conditions, noting the extreme heat and lack of resources that make relocation exceedingly difficult.

“Even the healthiest people will struggle to make a move in this heat with a lack of food and water,” said Wateridge. “And then where do they go? That’s the next question.” The evacuation has sparked chaos and panic, with many people leaving without their possessions and some even sleeping in the streets. Haitham al-Saqqa, a community program officer for Medical Aid for Palestinians, described scenes of families carrying their children and women without shoes, reflecting the desperation and urgency of the situation.

Read More : Head of Gaza’s Largest Hospital Released by Israel After Seven Months of Detention

Read More : Head of Gaza’s Largest Hospital Released by Israel After Seven Months of Detention

Read More : Escalating Tensions: Israel and Hezbollah Edge Closer to Conflict Amid Rocket Fire and Threats

Among those fleeing were patients and staff from the European Hospital, the largest operational hospital in Gaza. Although Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) later clarified that the evacuation order did not apply to hospital employees and patients, the information came too late. Saleh Al-Hams, the head of the hospital’s nursing department, recounted how doctors and patients scrambled to pack up and leave, canceling surgeries and transporting patients by any means available, including dragging hospital beds.

Amid these developments, efforts are being made to alleviate some of the humanitarian pressure. COGAT and the IDF announced plans to increase the capacity of a water desalination plant in Khan Younis, which could quadruple its output of drinking water, benefiting the heavily populated areas of Deir al-Balah, Khan Younis, and al-Mawasi. This move aims to prevent contamination and disease outbreaks, which could pose risks not only to Gaza’s residents but also to Israeli soldiers.

The prolonged conflict has had devastating impacts on both sides. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, at least 37,925 people have been killed and 87,141 injured since the war began. These figures include a significant number of women and children. On the Israeli side, around 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s initial attack on October 7, with over 300 soldiers among the dead. Since the start of Israeli military operations in Gaza, an additional 320 soldiers have been killed.

The situation in Gaza remains fluid and volatile, with continuous military operations and a severe humanitarian crisis affecting millions. The international community watches closely as both sides navigate this complex and tragic conflict, hoping for a resolution that will bring lasting peace and stability to the region. *Mukroni

Source The Washington Post

Photo msn.com

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