The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Thursday that the number of Palestinians displaced in Gaza has risen to more than 338,000 amid intensified fighting.
An OCHA official in Gaza, Hamada Al-Bayari, called for a humanitarian truce to allow relief workers to assess the situation in Gaza.
The OCHA’s statement came shortly after the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said that more than 220,000 Palestinians have taken refuge in 88 of its schools across the Gaza Strip.
In an earlier statement, UNRWA said that half a million people had stopped receiving vital food aid as the agency was forced to close all 14 of its food distribution centers.
Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes continued to carry out heavy airstrikes in various parts of the Gaza Strip.
In a dramatic escalation of Middle East tensions, Israeli forces have launched a sustained and forceful military campaign against the Gaza Strip in response to a military offensive by the Palestinian group Hamas in Israeli territories.
The conflict began when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel, a multi-pronged surprise attack including a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel via land, sea, and air, which Hamas said was in retaliation for the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and Israeli settlers’ growing violence against Palestinians.
In response to Hamas’ actions, the Israeli military launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets within the Gaza Strip. Israel’s response has extended into cutting water and electricity supplies to Gaza, further worsening the living conditions in an area that has reeled under a crippling siege since 2007.__The Nation