Gaza: 900,000 civilians remain in besieged Gaza City

By Harun Nasrullah

London, (The Muslim News): An estimated 900,000 Palestinians remain living in Gaza City’s besieged five governorates despite Israeli military efforts to force Palestinians to flee south through continuous aerial bombardment, Gaza’s Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday.

The news of the staggering number of stranded civilians came as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reaffirmed his urge for an immediate cease-fire on the one-month anniversary of the conflict between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip.

The UN chief spokesman conveyed Guterres’ extreme distress concerning Gaza’s death toll continuing to rise under Israeli bombardment.

“The Secretary-General remains extremely distressed by the killing of civilians in Gaza and the humanitarian catastrophe that continues to unfold in Gaza, with an unimaginable toll on civilians,” said Stephane Dujarric, Guterres’ spokesman on Tuesday.

“He also reiterates his call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire,” he added.

“The displacement that took place in the two regions is internal displacement to shelter centres or to relatives and friends,” said Interior Ministry spokesperson Iyad al-Buzm.

The population of Gaza City and adjacent areas exceeds 1.1 million out of a total of 2.2 million Palestinians, all of whom are subjected to exceptionally harsh living conditions due to the Israeli siege that has been in place since 2006.

“Despite the occupation’s massacres concentrated in Gaza City and northern Gaza and its psychological warfare to force citizens to leave their homes, the occupation has been unable to achieve its goals to displace people,” said Al-Buzm.

According to the ministry, the number of shelters in Gaza Strip cities has risen to 225, including 97 in Gaza City and North Gaza, housing 311,000 people.

There has also been a rise in makeshift shelters, with 87 schools, nine hospitals, and one church hosting refugees.

Al-Buzm said all bakeries are out of service due to direct Israeli targeting and the unavailability of fuel and flour posing a serious “potential catastrophe.”

“People resort to drinking contaminated water due to the Israeli blockade cutting off the water supply to Gaza City and North Gaza,” he said. “No aid has reached the citizens in Gaza City and North Gaza for the past 32 days, and no supplies have been delivered to shelter centres or residential areas.”

He also accused Israel of lying about a safe passage, which he said, “turned into a death corridor following the crimes committed by the occupation there.”

He added, “We warn that the occupation will carry out massacres and psychological pressure to force the people of Gaza City and North Gaza to leave their homes. Where will they go?”

Al-Buzm said: “There is no safe place in the Strip, and the south cannot house all these numbers under siege.”

Israel has launched air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by the Palestinian resistance group, Hamas, on Oct. 7.

At least 10,328 Palestinians, including 4,237 children and 2,719 women, have been killed in Israeli bombardments in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli death toll is nearly 1,600, according to Israeli official figures.

[Photo: Mother carries her son killed by Israeli airstrikes – her husband was killed too [Alslut family] – leaving Nassr Hospital to bury them in Khan Yunis, Gaza on 8 11 23. Photojournalist Abed Zagout/ AA]

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