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The Israel Defense Forces have told people in the eastern part of Khan Younis in Gaza that they must evacuate immediately. In the early hours of November 16, the Israeli Air Force scattered leaflets in the region in the southern part of the Gaza Strip warning people to evacuate to shelters for their own safety, Reuters reported.
Similar leaflets were released about two weeks earlier and were followed by heavy Israeli tank fire on the eastern neighborhoods.
Khan Younis is located in the southern half of the Gaza Strip. Tens of thousands of people displaced from the north have already sought refuge there, staying in schools and tents. As a result, the area is severely overpopulated amid acute food and water shortages.
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“For your safety, you should immediately evacuate your places of residence and head to known safe havens. Anyone who is near the terrorists or their facilities is putting their lives at risk and any house used by terrorists will be attacked “, the leaflets say.
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Two-thirds of the population of more than 2.3 million people in the densely populated territory of the Gaza Strip have lost their homes since October 7, and every available space in Khan Younis and other southern cities is filled to capacity.
The UN human rights chief said on Thursday that the spread of life-threatening infectious diseases and famine seemed inevitable given the dire living conditions and the intensity of crowding.
Israel also distributed leaflets in northern Gaza to pressure civilians to move. Hundreds of thousands have done so, and many Palestinians fear that what was initially a temporary exodus could become permanent.
Israel’s war in Gaza was sparked by militants from the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, who went on a rampage in southern Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people, including infants and children, and taking more than 200 back to Gaza as hostages, according to Israel. Israel is investigating various crimes committed by Hamas militants, including the mass rape of women, many of whom were killed.
Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas and launched an air, sea and land assault on densely populated Gaza. With each passing day, however, Israel is under increasing international pressure to change its course in Gaza as the humanitarian crisis in the enclave escalates.
According to the latest figures from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, as of November 15, the number of people killed in Gaza was over 11,300, including 4,650 children. In addition, 202 medical personnel were killed and 3,600 civilians, including 1,750 children, were reported missing.
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Palestinian health authorities said on Wednesday that it was becoming increasingly difficult to obtain accurate figures on casualties from Gaza due to the collapse of the hospital and health system in parts of the Israeli-besieged enclave.
“For the fourth consecutive day, the ministry is facing challenges in updating the number of casualties due to a breakdown in services and communications in hospitals in the north,” the health ministry said in a statement. According to a Hamas official, 25 of the 35 hospitals in the enclave are unusable.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health has been issuing constantly updated information on the total number of casualties from Israeli strikes on Gaza since the attack by Hamas, the terrorist group that has ruled Gaza since 2007.