A Israeli attack in her area A seamstressin southern Gaza, will spell disaster for civilians not only in the Palestinian enclave, but along the Middle Eastwarned today head once aid organizationsaying the area is facing a “countdown to an even bigger fight”.

Jan Egeland, the secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), told Reuters that the 1.3 million civilians who sought refuge in Rafah, including his organization’s staff, were living in “indescribable fear » of an Israeli attack.

Israel stepped up airstrikes in Rafah this week after it said it would evacuate civilians ahead of a full-scale offensive, despite warnings from allies that it could cause mass casualties.

Egeland urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to go ahead with the operation. “Netanyahu, stop this. It is a disaster not only for the Palestinians, it will be a disaster for Israel. You will stigmatize the Israeli consciousness and history forever,” he stressed.

The head of the Norwegian Refugee Council spoke to Reuters from Lebanon, where he visited villages in the south of the country, which he said were in the middle of “horrific crossfire” between the Israeli army and the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah. The exchange of fire has been taking place alongside the war in Gaza and has intensified in recent days.

“I’m just afraid we haven’t learned anything since 2006,” Egeland said, referring to the month-long war between Hezbollah and Israel.

“We don’t need another war in the Middle East. Right now, I feel like (it’s) a countdown to an even bigger conflict,” he stressed.

Israel has been waging a more than six-month military campaign against the Gaza Strip, saying it aims to eliminate Hamas, the Palestinian group whose Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel killed 1,200 people and took 253 hostage, according to Israeli elements.

Israel’s military campaign has killed more than 34,300 Palestinians, Gaza health authorities said, leveled most of the enclave and displaced most of its 2.3 million residents.

“Gaza is under more bombardment than even Aleppo, Raqqa, even Mosul,” he said, referring to cities in Syria and Iraq that have been devastated by heavy bombing campaigns over the past decade.

“We haven’t seen that in modern times, which shows it’s being done indiscriminately.”

Egeland said the slight improvement in aid distribution had allowed some bakeries to open in Gaza, but with border crossings still closed, the risk of famine still loomed.

An attack on Rafah would cripple relief operations “in an instant,” he warned.