The United Nations refugee agency for Palestinians said the situation in Gaza is dire, as Israeli forces issued a call to evacuate more than 1 million civilians living in the territory’s north.
United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini called the evacuation order “horrendous” in a statement predicting the escalating Israeli response to Hamas terror attacks will “lead to unprecedented levels of misery and push people in Gaza into the abyss.”
Lazzarini said more than 423,000 Gaza citizens have been displaced since the outbreak of war on Saturday, more than 270,000 of which have taken refuge in UNRWA shelters.
Israel Defense Forces told Fox News’ Trey Yingst that Israeli forces entered the Gaza Strip Friday, both infantry forces and tanks, to conduct localized raids.
The Israeli military said the raids were an effort to eliminate militants along the border and gather information about those held hostage inside the Gaza Strip.
“The scale and speed of the unfolding humanitarian crisis is bone-chilling. Gaza is fast becoming a hellhole and is on the brink of collapse,” he said.
“There is no exception, all parties must uphold the laws of war; humanitarian assistance must be provided at all times to civilians.”
Lazzarini echoed other U.N. officials who have called for an end to the war.
“I urge all parties and those with influence over them to put an end to this tragedy and provide immediate and unconditional humanitarian access and protection to the civilians, among them far too many women and children,” Lazzarini said.
He added, “The time for humanity to prevail is now.”
Israel has called up some 360,000 military reservists to respond to the Hamas-led terror campaign. Those forces have gathered on Israel’s border with Gaza ahead of a possible full-scale invasion to reclaim the hostages and eliminate Hamas terrorists.
Israel has warned the 1.1 million people living in the north of Gaza to evacuate the area within 24 hours as a “humanitarian step in order to minimize civilian casualties” ahead of the military’s response to Hamas’ terrorist attacks.
Original article source: UN refugee agency: Gaza becoming a ‘hellhole’ on the ‘brink of collapse’
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