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Thousands flee as Israeli troops advance in southern Gaza City of Khan Yunis

Palestinians arrive in the southern Gaza town of Rafah after fleeing an Israeli ground and air offensive in the nearby city of Khan Younis on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024.   -  
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Fatima Shbair/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.


As the conflict escalates in the southern Gaza City of Khan Yunis, thousands of Palestinians are evacuating towards Rafah near the Egyptian border, carrying whatever belongings they can.

Israeli troops have ordered residents to leave a downtown area that includes Nasser Hospital and two smaller medical facilities.

Approximately 1.5 million people, or two-thirds of Gaza's population, are now crowded into shelters and tent camps in and around Rafah, where safety remains elusive due to ongoing Israeli strikes. 

The offensive in Gaza has caused extensive destruction in the Northern Territory, with Israel claiming to have largely dismantled Hamas.

According to the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency, around 1.7 million people have been displaced within Gaza, primarily from the heavily affected northern regions. 

The Health Ministry in Gaza reports over 26,000 casualties, including both fatalities and injuries, since the October 7 attack in southern Israel that triggered the conflict.

On Friday, the International Court of Justice issued an order for Israel to take all necessary measures to prevent death, destruction, and acts of genocide in the besieged territory. 

Israel has been asked to submit a compliance report within a month, subjecting its military actions to increased international scrutiny. 

The situation remains dire, raising concerns about the possibility of displaced residents returning to their now-devastated neighbourhoods.

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