Thousands Flee Khan Younis Amid Israeli Strikes

Thousands Flee Khan Younis Amid Israeli Strikes
Thousands Flee Khan Younis Amid Israeli Strikes

Thousands of Palestinians are fleeing their homes in Gaza’s Khan Younis as Israeli forces pound the area with bombs and artillery fire after issuing a new evacuation order for the embattled southern city.

The latest strikes killed at least eight people and wounded more than 30 in several neighborhoods of Khan Younis.

The wave of attacks, just weeks after Israeli tanks left the area, caused panic among residents, many already displaced multiple times and with no clear path to safety.

The Israeli military’s newly declared evacuation zone in Khan Younis encompasses an area where 250,000 people live, said Sam Rose, planning director at the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

The order “means yet another day, week, chapter of misery for these hundreds of thousands of people – we expect 250,000 people in areas under the evacuation order,” Rose said from Nuseirat in central Gaza.

Some had just returned from Rafah, also in the south of the enclave, where they were displaced a few weeks ago.

It also includes Gaza’s European Hospital, which serves both Khan Younis and Rafah.

Some residents fled west towards the al-Mawasi area by the beach, which Israel designated a humanitarian “safe zone” but has attacked. But it is already overcrowded with displaced families.

The intensive push into Khan Younis could prelude the end of Israel’s intensive military operations to rout Hamas from southern Gaza, including Rafah, which Israel’s army estimates it needs four weeks to complete.

In the next phase of the war, the military plans to transition to less-intense, smaller-scale strikes to keep Hamas at bay, its officials say.

“We are advancing to the end of the phase of eliminating the militant army of Hamas, and there will be a continuation to strike its remnants,” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Gaza’s Ministry of Health said at least 37,925 people have been killed and 87,141 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7.