GAZA STRIP — The UN agency for Palestinian refugees said Monday the number of people seeking refuge with it in Gaza has soared to more than 100,000, two weeks into an Israeli offensive to try to thwart Hamas attacks from the coastal enclave.
“This is a watershed moment for UNRWA, now that the number of people seeking refuge with us is more than double the figure we saw in the 2009 Gaza conflict,” the agency’s spokesman Christopher Gunness said in a statement.
Earlier, the UN Human Rights Council said it will hold an special meeting on Wednesday to discuss Israel’s ongoing military offensive in Gaza.
The announcement followed the deadliest day of fighting between Israel and Hamas in six years, with more than 150 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers killed on Sunday.
The meeting was requested by Egypt on behalf of Arab states, as well as Pakistan on behalf of the the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Palestinians.
The UN Security Council held an emergency session on the Gaza conflict on Sunday and appealed for an immediate ceasefire.
So far, Palestinian figures show 509 Gazans have been killed and more than 3,150 wounded since the start of the Israeli campaign to stamp out cross-border terrorist rocket fire on July 8. On the Israeli side, 27 people have died, including two civilians. Hamas has fired some 1,500 rockets at Israel and attempted to infiltrate into Israel via five cross-border tunnels and two sea infiltrations.
Israel has repeatedly locked horns with the rights council — a 47-nation body whose make-up rotates among members of regional groups within the United Nations — accusing it of bias.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.