Israeli Military Reports Movement of Palestinian Civilians as Gaza City Residents Flee
The Israeli military has reported a “significant movement” of Palestinian civilians towards the south, a day after ordering residents of Gaza City to evacuate. This comes as Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, promises further retaliation for Hamas’ recent attacks. US President Joe Biden has stated that consultations are underway with regional governments regarding the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where trapped Palestinians are facing power outages and shortages of food and water due to intense Israeli bombing.
Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas following an attack last week, in which 1,300 Israelis, mostly civilians, were killed and hostages were taken. In response, Israel has imposed a total siege on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million Palestinians, and launched unprecedented air strikes. According to Gaza authorities, 1,900 people have died as a result.
On Friday, more than one million residents in northern Gaza received a notice from Israel to evacuate to the south within 24 hours. However, many Palestinians have chosen to stay, with Hamas urging them to fight until the end. Israeli military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus confirmed the movement of Palestinian civilians but did not mention the deadline or take questions.
Israel has deployed reserve soldiers around the Gaza Strip, preparing for the next stage of operations. Prime Minister Netanyahu has stated that the goal of the war is to dismantle Hamas and its military capability, ensuring that they can never harm Israeli civilians or soldiers again.
The United Nations and other organizations have warned of a humanitarian disaster if a large number of people are forced to flee. They have called for the lifting of the siege to allow for the delivery of aid. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres emphasized the need for immediate humanitarian access throughout Gaza. President Biden has also highlighted the importance of addressing the humanitarian crisis and stated that US teams are working with regional governments and the UN to provide assistance.
Meanwhile, demonstrations in support of Gaza have erupted in the West Bank, leading to gun battles with Israeli security forces. Palestinian officials have reported 16 deaths in these clashes. There are concerns that hostilities could spread, including to Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, where recent clashes have been the deadliest since 2006.
In a tragic incident, Reuters video journalist Issam Abdallah was killed in southern Lebanon by missiles fired from the direction of Israel. Six other journalists were injured. Lebanese Prime Minister Najob Mikati and a Hezbollah lawmaker have blamed Israel for the incident.
The situation in Gaza remains dire, with civilians facing immense hardships and the threat of further violence. The international community continues to call for a peaceful resolution and the protection of innocent lives.