Israeli air strikes displace over 187,518 people in Gaza Strip: UN

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More than 187,518 people have been internally displaced in the Gaza Strip, with numbers expected to keep rising as Israel continues to launch fresh raids on the besieged city, the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) said on Tuesday.

“UNRWA Gaza Field Office, where national and international staff are present, suffered collateral damage due to airstrikes in the Rimal area in the center of Gaza City,” the agency said in a statement.

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Collateral damage is used to refer to deaths and injuries of people who are not soldiers, and damage that is caused to their homes, hospitals, and schools.

“Nearly 137,500 internally displaced people (IDPs) are sheltering in 83 UNRWA schools in all areas of the Gaza Strip. As heavy airstrikes continue, more and more IDPs seek shelter in UNRWA’s schools,” the agency said in a statement.

Staff members are working to provide basic services to those displaced, however, the conditions are difficult, with some shelters overcrowded, and with limited availability of potable water, the UNRWA said.

Palestinians inspect the destruction from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City's al-Rimal neighbourhood early on October 10, 2023. (AFP)

Not all 83 schools are designated emergency shelters, and thus were not prepared to receive such large numbers of displaced people.

Before the recent escalations, UNRWA said about 3,000 Palestinians had been displaced due to previous Israeli violence in the city.

Israeli raids on the besieged city were ongoing from the early hours of Tuesday morning, Al Arabiya and Al Hadath sources reported.

This comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to take vengeance on Gaza in an offensive against Hamas militants who launched a surprise operation on Israel on Saturday.

“What we will do to our enemies in the coming days will reverberate with them for generations,” he said in a nationally televised statement.

Entire neighborhoods in Gaza have since been reduced to rubble, according to The Associated Press.

In Gaza’s Rimal neighborhood – home to universities, media organizations and the offices of aid organizations – residents were forced to flee their homes after the Israeli military said it was bombing Hamas targets in the area, sending some buildings to the ground and tearing others in half.

According to The Associated Press, the devastation in Rimal signaled what could be a new Israeli tactic: warning civilians to leave certain areas and then immediately hitting those areas with airstrikes of unprecedented intensity.

If Israel’s bombardments continue, Gazans will have no places to shelter as neighborhoods across the city become uninhabitable, the UN has warned.

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