Israel military tells Gaza City residents to leave

The Israeli military has told all residents of Gaza City to evacuate south to the central Gaza Strip, amid intensified operations in the north.

Leaflets dropped by aircraft instruct “everyone in Gaza City” to leave 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.

There are estimated to be more than a quarter-of-a-million people still living in Gaza City – and some were observed evacuating to the south.

Others, though, were not willing to leave.

“I will not leave Gaza. I will not make the stupid mistake that others have made. Israeli missiles do not differentiate between north and south,” Gaza resident Ibrahim al-Barbari, 47, told the BBC.

“If death is my fate and the fate of my children, we will die with honour and dignity in our homes,” he said.

In a statement issued earlier on Wednesday, 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.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here