Skip to content Skip to footer

Israel Bombs South Gaza After Ordering Over 1 Million Palestinians to Flee There

"The situation is catastrophic, catastrophic, catastrophic," said the director of a UNRWA shelter in Khan Younis.

A man carries a rescued child as search and rescue efforts continue after an Israeli airstrike in Khan Yunis, Gaza, on October 21, 2023.

The Israeli military continued to pummel Gaza with airstrikes on Sunday, including residential neighborhoods in the south, as a top IDF commander said the bombing would now intensify ahead of an expected ground invasion.

Despite urging Palestinians and others caught in Gaza to flee the northern areas, bombings that claimed the lives of yet more civilians — including children — were reported in Khan Younis and the city of Rafah.

The attacks came hours after the IDF’s Rear Adm Daniel Hagari called on Gaza’s residents to move south “for your own safety.”

“The situation we are in now is unprecedented and cannot be described with words. No words in the world can describe the situation we are in.” —Rawya Halas, Gaza Training College

“We will deepen our attacks to minimize the dangers to our forces in the next stages of the war,” Hagari said, possibly hinting at the ground invasion. “We are going to increase the attacks, from today.”

Graphic footage posted to social media showed wounded toddlers being transported for emergency healthcare after an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis:

In an update on Saturday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the number of those killed by Israeli airstrikes, citing Gaza Ministry of Health figures, had surpassed 4,300. Of those killed, said OCHA, 62% were children and women.

The ministry itself later on Saturday put out numbers that said 4,651 people have been killed, including 1,873 children.

In a video posted overnight from Khan Younis in southern Gaza, Rawya Halas, director of the Gaza Training College and head of the UNWRA shelter there, said the situation was “catastrophic, catastrophic, catastrophic.”

“The situation we are in now is unprecedented and cannot be described with words. No words in the world can describe the situation we are in,” Rawya added. “I beg you, save Gaza. It’s dying, it’s dying, it’s dying. There are children, elderly and adults for whom I cannot provide. I am the UNRWA. I am the head of this shelter, and I can’t offer them anything. Neither food nor water. There is nothing, nothing.”

The OCHA estimates 1.4 million Palestinians in Gaza are now displaced and that 42% of the housing units in the territory have been damaged or totally destroyed by the IDF bombing campaign.

The Israeli military on Oct. 13 ordered all civilians in the north of the besieged Gaza Strip to evacuate towards the south ahead of an increased bombing campaign and a potential ground invasion by Israeli Defense Forces troops amassed on the border.

But even as critics noted at the time the order would be impossible to comply with for many and should be seen as the prelude to “mass atrocities,” many Palestinians fled toward the south to seek refuge from the unrelenting assault and humanitarian crisis.

We have 6 days to raise $41,000 — we’re counting on your support!

For those who care about justice, liberation and even the very survival of our species, we must remember our power to take action.

We won’t pretend it’s the only thing you can or should do, but one small step is to pitch in to support Truthout — as one of the last remaining truly independent, nonprofit, reader-funded news platforms, your gift will help keep the facts flowing freely.