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Israel trying to clear Palestinians from Gaza, says UN agency chief

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Israel trying to clear Palestinians from Gaza, says UN agency chief

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LOS ANGELES — Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner-general of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, said Israel appears to be trying to clear Gaza of its Palestinian population through its military offensive and evacuation orders.

“The developments we are witnessing point to attempts to move Palestinians into Egypt, regardless of whether they stay there or are resettled elsewhere,” he wrote in the Los Angeles Times.

On Sunday, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi also accused Israel of being “determined” to push Palestinians out of Gaza.

“We are seeing a systematic effort, it seems to empty Gaza from its people,” he said at a conference in Doha, Qatar.

Eylon Levy, an Israeli government spokesperson, called the allegations “outrageous and false.”

Israel has said it is prepared to fight for months or longer to defeat Gaza’s Hamas rulers, as its ground offense intensifies with more airstrikes and artillery fire.

On Monday, the Israeli army announced that 101 soldiers had been killed so far in the military offensive which began on 27 October.

Qatar, which has played a key mediating role between the warring parties, says efforts to stop the war and have all hostages released will continue, but a willingness to discuss a ceasefire is fading.

Israel faces international outrage after its military offensive killed more than 17,700 Palestinians in Gaza, around two-thirds of them women and children, according to the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry.

About 90% of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been displaced within the besieged territory, where UN agencies say there is no safe place to flee.

With only a trickle of humanitarian aid reaching a small portion of Gaza, residents face severe shortages of food, water and other basic goods.

The latest outbreak of violence was sparked by Hamas’ deadly 7 October raid, which killed 1,200 people in southern Israel. — Agencies

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