An estimated 150,000 Palestinians are being forced to flee areas of central Gaza, the UN has said, as Israeli forces advance on refugee camps there.

Witnesses and Hamas’s armed wing reported that tanks had reached the eastern outskirts of Bureij camp.

Israel’s military recently expanded its ground offensive to target Bureij and nearby Nuseirat and Maghazi camps.

Israeli bombardment also killed dozens of people across Gaza on Thursday, the Hamas-run health ministry said.

Egypt has confirmed that it has put forward a three-stage proposal to stop the fighting which ends with a ceasefire.

A Hamas delegation is said to have arrived in Cairo to give its response to the plan.

The war was triggered by an unprecedented cross-border attack by Hamas gunmen on southern Israel on 7 October, in which 1,200 people were killed – most of them civilians – and about 240 others taken hostage.

More than 21,300 people have been killed in Gaza – mostly children and women – during 11 weeks of fighting, according to the health ministry.

The Israeli military has called for the evacuation of a strip of land stretching across central Gaza that includes Bureij and Nuseirat camps, and told the almost 90,000 residents and 61,000 displaced people in the affected areas to move southwards to the town of Deir al-Balah.

However, the UN warned on Thursday that they had nowhere to go because Deir al-Balah was already overcrowded, with several hundred thousand displaced people sheltering there.

The UN says that Rafah – which had already become the most densely populated town in Gaza – has seen about 100,000 new arrivals in recent days as Israeli ground forces have pushed into new neighbourhoods.

Omar, 60, said he had been forced to flee Bureij along with at least 35 members of his family.

“That moment has come, I wished it would never happen, but it seems displacement is a must,” he told Reuters news agency by phone. “We are now in a tent in Deir al-Balah because of this brutal Israeli war.”

Tom White, Gaza director for UN relief agency UNRWA, said more and more people were being pushed into the southern Gaza town of Rafah, “so more people into a very small strip of land that cannot support them”.

On Thursday evening, Gaza’s health ministry reported that 20 people had been killed in an Israeli air strike on a building in Rafah that was reportedly housing displaced civilians.

Source: BBC