Live updates | Israel’s evacuation orders cover 2/3 of the Gaza Strip, leaving Palestinians crammed

Israel’s evacuation orders in the Gaza Strip now cover two-thirds of the territory, or 246 square kilometers (95 square miles), United Nations humanitarian monitors said Tuesday.

More than half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million people is now crammed into the town of Rafah on the border with Egypt and surrounding areas, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

The Health Ministry in Gaza said the known Palestinian death toll is at 27,478 people after nearly four months of war. A quarter of Gaza‘s residents are now starving and 85% of the population has been driven from their homes, with hundreds of thousands crammed in makeshift tent camps.



U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shortly after arriving in the kingdom Monday. It’s Blinken’s fifth visit to the Mideast since the war in Gaza broke out on Oct. 7, when Hamas stormed into southern Israel. The assault killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and militants abducted around 250 others.

Currently:

– An argument over the Middle East conflict leaves a Jewish student hospitalized in Berlin.

– What to know about the situation in the Middle East this week.

– The U.S. warns of further retaliation if Iran-backed militias continue their attacks.

– Find more of AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

Here’s the latest:

JERUSALEM – Israel’s evacuation orders in the Gaza Strip now cover two-thirds of the territory, or 246 square kilometers (95 square miles), United Nations humanitarian monitors said Tuesday.

The affected area was home to 1.78 million Palestinians, or 77% of Gaza’s population, before the Israel-Hamas war erupted on Oct. 7, triggered by a deadly Hamas attack on southern Israel.

Early on in the war, Israel’s military began ordering Palestinians in the northern half of the territory to leave their homes, ostensibly to get out of the way of eventual ground combat. At the same time, Israeli aircraft continued to attack in the southern half, where residents had been told to take refuge. Israel says it only goes after Hamas targets and argues that Hamas is responsible for harm to civilians because it operates from within civilian sites.

Gaza health officials have put the Palestinian death toll in the territory at more than 27,000. They don’t differentiate between combatants and civilians in the count, but have said two-thirds are women and children.

Over the course of the war, evacuation orders eventually expanded to parts of the south, including the city of Khan Younis and surrounding areas, the current focus of Israel’s ground offensive. Tens of thousands of people have fled and continue to flee from there, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Tuesday in its latest daily report on the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

More than half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million people is now crammed into the town of Rafah on the border with Egypt and surrounding areas, OCHA said.

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