According to eyewitness reports, thousands of Palestinians are once again on the run due to heavy fighting in the area of ​​the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. According to reports, many fled in cars or on foot towards the city of Rafah on the border with Egypt. The UN emergency relief office OCHA said overnight that evacuation calls from the Israeli army affected an area of ​​​​around four square kilometers in Khan Yunis. There are around 88,000 residents in the region, plus an estimated 425,000 internally displaced people who sought protection in 24 schools and other facilities.

Three hospitals with a total capacity of 625 beds are also affected. Around 18,000 internally displaced people sought protection in the Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis alone. According to UN estimates, 1.7 million of the 2.2 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip have become internally displaced people as a result of the war and have had to leave their homes.

According to the Israeli army, six field hospitals are currently operating in the Gaza Strip, in addition to two floating hospitals on Italian and French ships in the Mediterranean off the Gaza coast.

Israel intensifies operations

Khan Yunis is considered a stronghold of the Islamist Hamas. Israel suspects that the leadership of the terrorist organization as well as Israeli hostages are in the tunnel network in the area. The Israeli army said it surrounded the heavily contested city on Tuesday. On Monday, the army announced an expansion of its offensive in the southern Gaza Strip. According to eyewitnesses, there were recently fierce fighting between members of Hamas and Israeli soldiers in the west of Khan Yunis.

The Israeli army said it was continuing to intensify its operations against Hamas in Khan Yunis. “The troops killed many terrorist cells with sniper, tank and air fire,” the statement said. Weapons were also found during raids in the city. On Tuesday, the army said it found an underground, 1.5-kilometer-long Hamas tunnel in Khan Yunis with a rocket-making workshop.