Leave northern Gaza Israel's military orders Palestinians

Leave northern Gaza Israel’s military orders Palestinians

4 minutes, 9 seconds Read

Leave northern Gaza Israel's military orders Palestinians

|By Sehubo Festus


Leave northern Gaza Israel’s military orders Palestinians

Israel (AP) — Following Israel’s military order for around a million civilians to evacuate to the southern region of the besieged territory in anticipation of an anticipated ground invasion in reprisal for the surprise strike by the ruling Hamas militant group, Palestinians staged a mass evacuation from northern Gaza on Friday.

The U.N. called on Israel to revoke the historic order, stating that removing nearly half of the densely populated Gaza would be disastrous. Families with their belongings loaded into vehicles, trucks, and donkey carts rushed out of Gaza City along a main road as airstrikes hit the region all day.

Hamas’ media office said warplanes struck cars fleeing south, killing more than 70 people. The Israeli military said its troops conducted temporary raids into Gaza to battle militants and hunted for traces of some 150 people abducted in Hamas’s assault on Israel nearly a week ago.

In urging the evacuation, Israel’s military planned to target underground Hamas hideouts around Gaza City. But Palestinians and some Egyptian officials fear that Israel ultimately hopes to push Gaza’s people out through the southern border with Egypt.

Hamas told people to ignore the evacuation order, and families in Gaza faced what they saw as a no-win decision to leave or stay, with no safe ground anywhere. Hospital staff said they couldn’t abandon patients.

Unrelenting Israeli strikes over the past week have leveled large swaths of neighborhoods, magnifying the suffering of Gaza, which has also been sealed off from food, water, and medical supplies, and under a virtual total power blackout.

“Forget about food, forget about electricity, forget about fuel. The only concern now is just if you’ll make it if you’re going to live,” said Nebal Farsakh, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Crescent in Gaza City, as she broke into heaving sobs.

In the war that has lasted for almost a week, the Gaza Health Ministry reported on Friday that approximately 1,900 individuals have lost their lives in the region. More than half of the casualties were either under 18 or women. The recent Hamas attack last Saturday resulted in the deaths of over 1,300 Israelis, mostly civilians. The Israeli government also stated that around 1,500 Hamas militants were killed during the course of the conflict.

Israeli soldiers gain access to Gaza

After Israel began its ceaseless bombing war in response to Hamas’s attack on many civilians in southern Israel, Israel launched its first troop invasion into Gaza.

An official from the military stated that Israeli ground soldiers left after the attacks were over. There was no sign of the expected ground invasion with these military deployments.

The evacuation order was seen as yet another sign of an imminent Israeli ground assault, even in the absence of an official announcement. Israel has been building up its military near the Gaza Strip.

An assault into densely populated and impoverished Gaza would likely bring even higher casualties on both sides in brutal house-to-house fighting.

“We will destroy Hamas,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Friday night in a speech, adding, “This is only the beginning.”

Hamas said Israel’s airstrikes killed 13 of the hostages in the past day. It said the dead included foreigners but did not give their nationalities. Israeli military spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari denied the claim.

In Israel, the public remained in shock over the Hamas rampage and frightened by continual rocket fire out of Gaza. The public is overwhelmingly in favor of the military offensive, and Israeli TV stations have set up special broadcasts with slogans like “Together we will win” and “Strong together.” Their reports focus heavily on the aftermath of the Hamas attack and stories of heroism and national unity, and they make scant mention of the unfolding crisis in Gaza.

In the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry reported 16 Palestinians killed Friday, bringing the total of Palestinians killed there since Hamas’ rampage to 51. The U.N. says attacks by Israeli settlers have surged there since the Hamas assault.


The U.N. said the Israeli military’s call for civilians to move south affects 1.1 million people. If carried out, that would mean the territory’s entire population would have to cram into the southern half of the 40-kilometer (25-mile) strip.

An Israeli spokesperson, Jonathan Conricus, said the military would make “extensive efforts to avoid harming civilians” and that residents would be allowed to return when the war is over.

Israel has long accused Hamas of using Palestinians as human shields. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel wanted to separate Hamas militants from the civilian population.

“So those who want to save their life, please go south,” he said at a news conference with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Such an evacuation would be impossible to carry out without “devastating humanitarian consequences,” according to U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric. He demanded that Israel revoke any such directives.

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