GAZA, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- More than 1,000 Palestinian refugees are unable to return to their homes due to Israeli incursions in south Gaza, a U.N. official says.
"It is too dangerous for these people to return to their homes until Israel withdrawals," said John Ging, director of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency.
He said 300 residents from the As-Shoka district are living in tents, while the agency has arranged temporary housing for another 700 residents in the nearby city of Rafah. Residents able to return home found bulldozed homes, razed crops and crushed infrastructure.
Gaza residents were forced to flee during an Israeli incursion into the As-Shoka village Aug. 3. The action was part of a now 11-week long Israeli incursion into Gaza to halt the launching of Qassam rockets into Israel and to rescue an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas June 25.
Ging also called for the opening of Karni, Gaza's only commercial crossing, and for the implementation of the Agreement on Movement and Access brokered by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last November.
The agreement stipulates all border crossings to Gaza would remain open.
"It is not just about bringing in containers of humanitarian assistance, it is about restoring the Gaza economy," Ging said.