Saturday , July 13 2024

Israeli military tells all Gaza City residents to evacuate

11-07-2024

JERUSALEM/ GAZA CITY: The Israeli military has told all residents of Gaza City to evacuate south to the central Gaza Strip, amid an intensified offensive there.

Leaflets dropped by aircraft instruct “everyone in Gaza City” to leave what what is described as a “dangerous combat zone” via designated safe routes marked as two roads that lead to shelters in Deir al-Balah and al-Zawaida.

The UN has said it is deeply concerned about the evacuation orders being given.

Over the past two weeks, Israeli forces have issued evacuation orders for and re-entered several areas of Gaza City where they believe Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have regrouped since the start of the year.

The fighting is continuing as indirect negotiations over a potential ceasefire and hostage release deal between Israel and Hamas are set to resume in Qatar. The talks will be attended by the intelligence chiefs of Egypt, the US and Israel.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said its troops had “conducted a counterterrorism operation” overnight against Hamas and PIJ fighters who were operating inside a headquarters of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (Unrwa) in Gaza City.

The troops had opened a “defined corridor to facilitate the evacuation of civilians” from the area before they entered the structure and “eliminated terrorists in close-quarters combat”, it added.

There was no immediate comment from Unrwa. The IDF also said it had killed dozens of fighters in Gaza City’s eastern Shejaiya district and dismantled an underground tunnel routes over the past day.

On Tuesday, the UN Human Rights Office said it was “appalled” by IDF orders for residents to evacuate to “areas where Israeli military operations are ongoing and where civilians continue to be killed and injured”.

It also warned that the Deir al-Balah area was already seriously overcrowded with Palestinians displaced from other areas of Gaza and that there was little infrastructure and limited access to humanitarian assistance.

The Israeli military launched a campaign in Gaza to destroy the Hamas group in response to an unprecedented attack on southern Israel on 7 October, during which about 1,200 people were killed and 251 others were taken hostage.

More than 38,295 people have been killed in Gaza since then, according to the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry.

The UN Human Rights Office is appalled as IDF once more orders residents of Gaza City, many of whom have been forcibly displaced multiple times, to evacuate to areas where IDF military operations are ongoing and where civilians continue to be killed and injured. On 7 July, IDF issued an order to civilians in areas of central parts of Gaza City, including At Tuffah and Ad Daraj, to immediately evacuate to the west of Gaza City. While issuing this evacuation order, the IDF intensified its strikes in the south and west of Gaza City, targeting the very areas where they had instructed people to move to. In the morning of 8 July, IDF issued a statement confirming that they had hit an UNRWA HQ located west of Gaza City, again in the area where people had been told to relocate. Later, on 8 July, IDF issued another order calling people in parts of Gaza City, including those in its western part, to further evacuate to Deir al Balah -which is already seriously overcrowded with Palestinians displaced from other areas of the Gaza Strip and where there is little infrastructure and limited access to humanitarian assistance.

Palestinians have nowhere left to shelter. The UN Human Rights Office has repeatedly raised concerns that IDF’s evacuation orders are confusing, often instructing people to relocate to areas where IDF military operations are ongoing. We reiterate our call on Israel to take all efforts to ensure the safety of civilians in Gaza. (Int’l News Desk)

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