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9 dead after overnight strike in Gaza's Khan Younis following Israel's mass evacuation orders
July 02 2024, 08:00

An Israeli strike has killed at least nine people in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, Palestinian health officials said Tuesday, within a day of Israel ordering the evacuation of parts of the city ahead of a likely ground operation.

The overnight strike hit a home near the European Hospital, which is inside the zone that Israel said should be evacuated. After the initial evacuation orders, the military said the facility itself was not included, but its director says most patients and medics have already been relocated.

Sam Rose, the director of planning at the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, said Tuesday that the agency believes some 250,000 people are in the evacuation zone — over 10% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million — including many who have fled earlier fighting.

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He says another 50,000 people living just outside the zone may also choose to leave because of their proximity to the fighting. Evacuees have been told to seek refuge in a sprawling tent camp along the coast that is already overcrowded and has few basic services.

Israel launched the war in Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

Since then, Israeli ground offensives and bombardments have killed more than 37,900 people in Gaza, according to the territory's Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count. 

The war has largely cut off the flow of food, medicine and basic goods to Gaza, and people there are now totally dependent on aid. The top U.N. court has concluded there is a "plausible risk of genocide" in Gaza — a charge Israel strongly denies.