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WORLD

More than Half a Million People Flee Fighting in Rafah and Northern Gaza, UN Says

More than half a million Palestinians have been displaced in recent days by escalating Israeli military operations in southern and northern Gaza, the United Nations says.

Around 450,000 Palestinians were driven out of Rafah in Gaza’s south over the past week, the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees said Tuesday. There were roughly 1.3 million people sheltering in Rafah before Israel began pushing into the city, which Israel says is the last Hamas stronghold.

Israeli forces are also battling Hamas militants in northern Gaza, where the army had launched major operations earlier in the war. The army’s evacuation orders issued Saturday have displaced around 100,000 people so far, U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters Monday.

Palestinian officials say Israeli strikes in central Gaza killed at least 12 people overnight and into Tuesday.

Smoke rises to the sky after an explosion in the Gaza Strip as seen from southern Israel, Monday, May 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

No food has entered the two main border crossings in southern Gaza for the past week. Some 1.1 million Palestinians in Gaza face catastrophic levels of hunger, on the brink of starvation, and a “full-blown famine” is taking place in the north, according to the U.N.

Seven months of Israeli bombardment and ground operations in Gaza have killed more than 35,000 people, most of them women and children, according to local health officials.

The war began Oct. 7 when Hamas attacked southern Israel, killing around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducting about 250 others. Israel says militants still hold around 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others.

Currently:

— Misery deepens in Gaza’s Rafah as Israeli troops press operation.

— With the shock of Oct. 7 still raw, sadness and anger grip Israel on its Memorial Day.

— Pro-Palestinian protests dwindle on U.S. campuses, as some college graduations are marked by defiant acts.

— Blinken delivers some of the U.S.’s strongest public criticism yet of Israel’s conduct of the war in Gaza.

— Palestinian band escapes horrors of war, but its members’ futures remain uncertain.

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