The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) on Saturday said that a military offensive on Rafah, southern Gaza Strip “in the middle of these completely exposed, vulnerable people is a recipe for disaster”, Anadolu Agency reports.
“In Rafah southern Gaza, there are 1.4 million people – in tens of kilometers- living in the streets in plastic makeshift shelters,” Phillippe Lazzarini, the UNRWA commissioner-general, said on X.
“I am almost becoming wordless,” he added.
Earlier in the day, the official Israeli Broadcasting Authority said that the military operation in Rafah would commence after the completion of a “wide-ranging evacuation” of civilians from the city and its outskirts.
Based on this, the Gaza government media office warned of a “global catastrophe and massacre” in the event of Israel’s invasion of Rafah province.
Rafah serves as the last refuge for displaced individuals in the devastated territory, housing over 1.4 million Palestinians, including 1.3 million displaced from other governorates, according to the government media office in Gaza.
Since the beginning of the ground operation launched by Israel on the Gaza Strip on Oct. 27, residents have been urged to move from the northern and central areas of the territory to the south, under the pretext of them being safe zones, yet they have not been spared from house, car, and hospital bombings.
Following the atrocities committed in the territory, Israel faces accusations of “genocide” before the International Court of Justice for the first time in its history, met with regional and international approval to end Israel’s impunity, while facing opposition from the United States.