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Gaza: People flee Rafah as Israel intensifies attack on city

Palestinians fleeing from the southern Gaza city of Rafah during an Israeli ground and air offensive in the city on Tuesday, May 28, 2024   -  
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Jehad Alshrafi/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.

Gaza City

Thousands of people are fleeing the southern city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip as Israel deepens its offensive in southern Gaza.

"The situation is scary, with all the shelling - the children are scared. We have no place left to stay," said Yasmin Yasen, one of many exhausted displaced people.

Israel’s military said Wednesday it had seized control of a strategic corridor that runs along the length of Gaza’s border with Egypt.

The move comes as Israel has deepened its incursion into the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of people seeking shelter from fighting elsewhere had been displaced, and where intensifying violence in recent days has killed dozens of Palestinians.

Over the past three weeks, Israel’s offensive in Rafah has sent nearly a million Palestinians fleeing the southern Gaza city.

Most have already been displaced multiple times during Israel’s nearly 8-month-old war in Gaza, which is aimed at destroying the militant Hamas group but has devastated the territory and caused what the United Nations says is a near-famine.

"We don't have the means to live in our own places, so imagine what it is like for us with this being our third displacement. We are spent and we cannot take war any more," said Zeiad Abu Hatab, a displaced person.

The situation has been worsened by a fall in the amount of food, fuel and other supplies reaching the U.N. and other aid groups to distribute to the population.

Palestinians, who relied in part on humanitarian aid even before the war, have largely been on their own to find the basics for survival.

Israeli authorities controlling all entry points into Gaza have been letting greater numbers of private commercial trucks into the territory, the U.N. and aid workers say.

More fruits and vegetables are found in markets, and prices on some have fallen, Palestinians say.

Still, most homeless Palestinians can’t afford them.

Israel’s war on Gaza has killed some 36,000 people, according to the Health Ministry.