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Exodus Of Palestinians From Gaza Would Be “Catastrophic”: UN Refugee Chief

In response to Hamas’ attacks, Israel has vowed to destroy the group. (File)

Geneva, Switzerland:

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told AFP in an interview on Wednesday that it would be “catastrophic” if Palestinians left Gaza for other countries in the region, stressing the need for a ceasefire.

“I hope that there will be no outflow of Palestinians from the area,” he said.

“We must never forget that two-thirds of Gaza’s population are already refugees from the first conflict,” he said, adding that 75 years ago caused the exodus or forced displacement of 760,000 Palestinians. mentioned the founding of Israel.

The event is known as the Nakba, which means “catastrophe” in Arabic.

Mr Grandi warned that new spills “will be an additional burden for refugees, Palestinians and the region.”

His comments came Wednesday as Israeli forces engaged Hamas terrorists in the main city of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, a nearly two-month battle that began with the Oct. 7 attack. It was some of the heaviest fighting of the war.

According to Israeli authorities, the attacks killed 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and took about 240 hostages.

In response to the Hamas attack, Israel vowed to destroy the group and carried out relentless shelling and ground attacks in the Gaza Strip, killing 16,200 people, most of them women and children, according to the Hamas-run Gaza government. killed more than one.

Israeli troops, tanks, armored personnel carriers and bulldozers have poured into Gaza’s second-largest city, Khan Yunis, forcing civilians who had already been evacuated to pack up and flee again, witnesses told AFP. Ta.

After heavy fighting and shelling that reduced much of the north to rubble and forced an estimated 1.9 million people to flee, the focus of the conflict shifted to the besieged southern part of the Palestinian territory.

The border is closed and few people have left Gaza since the war began.

And only about 100 aid trucks have been able to enter Gaza since the week-long ceasefire ended last week, with Mr Grandi warning there is a “significant shortfall”.

“It’s very, very important that we address this issue to prevent a population exodus that would be truly catastrophic,” he said.

“The priority is to return to a moratorium…hopefully a humanitarian ceasefire, followed by a more stable cessation of hostilities,” he said.

“The Palestinian people are now the victims of this military action,” he said, adding that with more than 16,000 people already dead, the situation “must end as soon as possible.” .

“This is an achievement for all of us to strive for.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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