The Israeli army has told all Gaza City residents to evacuate their homes and head south of the territory “for their safety”.
In a statement, the army said, “The IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) calls for the evacuation of all civilians of Gaza City from their homes southwards for their safety and protection and move to the area south of the Wadi Gaza as shown on the map.”
It also noted that the IDF will in the following days continue to operate significantly in Gaza City and make extensive efforts to avoid harming civilians.
Also, it added that “The Hamas terrorist organisation waged a war against the State of Israel and Gaza City is an area where military operations take place. Hamas terrorists are hiding in Gaza City inside tunnels underneath houses and inside buildings populated with innocent civilians.”
The army told residents that they would be able to return to Gaza City only when another announcement permitting it was made. It said, “Do not approach the area of the security fence with the State of Israel.”
Hamas Rejects Gaza Evacuation Order
Newsmen reports that Hamas rejected an Israeli order for 1.1 million residents to evacuate northern Gaza ahead of an expected ground incursion into the overcrowded Palestinian territory.
The Islamist militant group said in a statement, “Our Palestinian people reject the threat of the occupation (Israeli) leaders and its call for them to leave their homes and flee from them to the south or Egypt. We are steadfast on our land and in our homes and our cities. There will be no displacement.”
The United Nations said an order by Israel to flee within 24 hours risked a “calamitous situation”.
What you need to know
Israeli strikes on the coastal enclave have killed more than 1,530 people since Saturday, in retaliation for Hamas militants killing around 1,200 people in attacks in Israel.
In a statement, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Egypt remains committed to ensuring the delivery of aid to Gaza, but urged Palestinians to “remain on their land.”
Reports say Egypt’s Rafah crossing is the only route out of Gaza not controlled by Israel and has been bombed on several occasions this week.
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