Sat 25-May-2024

Deir al-Balah: Small city witnesses new forced displacement tragedy

Saturday 11-May-2024


Since the beginning of the Israeli army’s ground attack on the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip and the Israeli use of deadly weapons against civilians, a new wave of displacement to the city of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip has begun, seeking security amid ongoing genocide.

A correspondent for the Palestinian Information Center says that the coastal Rashid Street towards Deir al-Balah witnessed a mass exodus, since the escalation of the Israeli aggression on the city of Rafah and its residents, especially in the past few days, with cars carrying citizens and luggage crowding the roads in search of places amidst severe overcrowding.

The displaced dismantled their wooden and nylon tents from shelter centers and their surroundings, transporting them to Deir al-Balah, in a new journey of displacement; fleeing from Israeli shelling and in search of safety.

The small city

Deir al-Balah witnessed, during the past two days, the displacement of thousands of those present in Rafah after the Israeli army launched a ground attack east of the city.

The area of Deir al-Balah is 14 square kilometers and is located in the middle of the Gaza Strip, with a population of nearly 100,000 before the start of the genocide war, but now estimates indicate that the number of displaced persons in it is approaching half a million.

Seeking safety

Citizen Mohammed Qishta, who resides in the Jneina neighborhood, packed his belongings and closed his house, saying sadly: “Out of fear for the children and the innocent, we were forced to leave our homes in search of the lost security,” explaining that he had to go to Deir al-Balah even though he knows that all areas of the Gaza Strip are not safe and the occupation was bombing all areas inhumanely.

He added to our correspondent that he set up his tent on the seafront due to the lack of empty places inside the city; where hardly anyone finds a foothold due to the severity of overcrowding, which puts pressure on infrastructure, water, and communication networks.

New suffering

Mohammed Abu Sha’ir, one of the displaced people from the northern Gaza Strip, said, “After settling in Rafah for many months since my displacement from the north, today I was forced to dismantle my tent and move my family to Deir al-Balah out of fear for their lives amid the Israeli attack on the east of the city.”

He explained in a statement to our correspondent that he did not expect the Israeli army to invade Rafah, especially since he considered it a safe area since the beginning of the war, pointing out that all areas in the Strip are unsafe and could be targeted by Israeli shelling.

He added, “It cost us a lot to adapt to life in Rafah, and now we need to start a new suffering of displacement, which will cost us a lot of time, effort, and money,” indicating that all the displaced feel extreme fear of the ground invasion of Rafah.

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