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GAZA STRIP: The United Nations told AFP on Thursday that the Israeli military ordered people taking refuge in their shelter hit with deadly tank fire in southern Khan Yunis to leave by the following afternoon.

A spokeswoman for UNRWA, the agency for Palestinian refugees, confirmed testimony from displaced people in the shelter who said the army gave them until 5:00 pm (1500 GMT) on Friday to flee.

“The army called the UNRWA official through the loudspeaker, she went over to them next to the tanks, and they told her to notify us to vacate the premises by 5 pm tomorrow,” said Amal Lubbad, a displaced Gazan at the facility.

“We don’t know where we’ll go.”

The Israeli military did not immediately comment when asked by AFP about the forced displacement.

Six Palestinians were killed at a UN-run shelter in Gaza: UNRWA chief

Twelve people were killed Wednesday when two tank shells struck the shelter, where thousands had taken refuge, UNRWA said.

“Over 75 injuries, 15 of whom are in a critical condition,” Thomas White, the agency’s Gaza director, said in a statement.

The majority of Gaza’s population – 1.7 million out of 2.4 million – have been forced from their homes with vast numbers cramming into UN shelters.

UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini said Wednesday’s bombardment was a “blatant disregard of basic rules of war”.

The compound had been clearly marked as a UN facility and its coordinates shared with Israeli authorities, he said on X, formerly Twitter.

Asked about the tank fire, the Israeli army said “a thorough review of the operations of the forces in the vicinity is underway”, adding it was examining the possibility that the strike was a “result of Hamas fire”.

The Israeli army is the only force known to have tanks operating in the Gaza Strip.

The United States also condemned the bombardment, with State Department spokesman Vedant Patel saying “civilians must be protected and the protected nature of UN facilities must be respected”.

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