More than 300,000 Displaced in Gaza, UN Says


The United Nations says the majority of the displaced are sheltering at schools it runs. The bulk of the rest were staying with relatives or neighbours

GENEVA — The UN humanitarian agency OCHA said on Thursday that more than 338,000 people had been forced to flee their homes in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip amid heavy Israeli bombardment. 

“Mass displacement across the Gaza Strip continues,” the OCHA said in a statement. 

It said the number of displaced people had risen by an additional 75,000 by late Wednesday compared to the figure from 24 hours earlier. 

The announcement came as Israel continued to hit targets in the densely populated Palestinian enclave overnight into Thursday, part of its military response to the deadly weekend attacks by Hamas. 

The OCHA said around two-thirds of those displaced had sought shelter in schools run by the UN agency supporting Palestinian refugees, the UNRWA.

The bulk of the rest were staying with relatives or neighbours, but Palestinian Authority schools, a church and other facilities in Gaza City were assisting, it said.

In overnight airstrikes, Israel also targeted an elite Hamas unit.

The strikes were focused on the militant group’s “Nukhba Force,” Arabic for elite force, which Israeli military spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Hecht said had spearheaded Saturday’s attacks.

Hamas media said 15 Palestinians had been killed and several others wounded in the latest Israeli airstrikes.

Hecht said Palestinian gunmen were still trying to infiltrate Israel by sea, adding that the Israeli military was still working to secure the Gaza fence. He said that a decision on a ground assault had yet to be made “but we’re preparing for it.” — Agencies


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