Israel has ordered more than one million people to evacuate northern Gaza within 24 hours ahead of a feared Israeli ground offensive aimed at eradicating Hamas.
The order sent panic through civilians and aid workers already struggling under Israeli airstrikes and a blockade, while the United Nations called such an evacuation ‘impossible’ that would turn an tragedy into calamity.
Israel’s military sent one evacuation order directly on Friday morning, telling the 1.1 million people living north of an area called Wadi Gaza to move south. This would mean the entire population of Gaza City and its surroundings fleeing their homes.
The UN says it is impossible to move that many people without devastating humanitarian consequences, and has urged Israel to rescind the order.
The 2.3 million people living in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip are densely packed into a sliver of land that is just 25 miles long and 7 miles wide which is already without power and where hospitals are overwhelmed.
Israel has killed more than 1,530 people in Gaza with airstrikes and cut off food, water and electricity since Hamas terrorists killed more than 1,300 in Israel.
Israel’s directive, which comes seven days after Hamas attacked Israel from Gaza, charged that Hamas terrorists were hiding in tunnels under the city.
Meanwhile, a Hamas official called the evacuation order ‘fake propaganda’, urged Palestinians to stay in their homes and not to ‘fall for it’.
The Hamas Authority for Refugee Affairs called on residents of the north of the territory to ‘remain steadfast in your homes and to stand firm in the face of this disgusting psychological war waged by the occupation’.
Israel has ordered more than one million people to evacuate northern Gaza within 24 hours ahead of a feared Israeli ground offensive aimed at eradicating Hamas
The order sent panic through civilians and aid workers already struggling under Israeli airstrikes and a blockade, while the United Nations called such an evacuation ‘impossible’ that would turn an tragedy into calamity. Pictured: Children are seen in a Gaza City hospital
Smoke billows following Israeli strikes amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Gaza, October 13, 2023
Israel’s military sent one evacuation order directly on Friday morning, telling the 1.1 million people living north of an area called Wadi Gaza to move south. This would mean the entire population of Gaza City and its surroundings fleeing their homes
The flurry of directives was taken as signalling an already expected Israeli ground offensive, though the Israeli military has not yet confirmed such a decision.
On Thursday it said that while it was preparing, no official decision has been made.
Any ground offensive would be the strongest response yet to Hamas’ shock assault, and would likely bring even higher casualties on both sides in brutal guerrilla warfare as Israeli soldiers go house-to-house and hunt down Hamas terrorists.
‘This evacuation is for your own safety,’ the Israeli military said, in a warning it said was sent to all Gaza City civilians.
The UN said it received a separate directive from the Israeli military shortly before midnight, giving all 1.1 million civilians of northern Gaza 24 hours to flee south.
It said the broad evacuation warning it received for all of Gaza’s north also applies to all UN staff and to the hundreds of thousands who have taken shelter in UN schools and other facilities since Israel launched round-the-clock airstrikes.
‘The UN considers it impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences,’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
‘The United Nations strongly appeals for any such order, if confirmed, to be rescinded avoiding what could transform what is already a tragedy into a calamitous situation,’ Dujarric said.
Another UN official said that the United Nations is trying to get clarity from Israeli officials at the senior most political level.
‘It’s completely unprecedented,’ the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak publicly.
Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, spokesman of the Israel Defence Forces (lDF) said in a video update Friday that the evacuations were a ‘humanitarian step.’
‘The IDF calls for the evacuation of all civilians from Gaza City from their homes southwards for their own safety and protection and to move to the area south of the River Gaza.’
‘The Hamas terrorist organisation waged a war against the state of Israel and Gaza City is an area where military operations are taking place,’ he continued.
Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, spokesman of the Israel Defense Forces (lDF) said in a video update Friday that the evacuations were a ‘humanitarian step’
Smoke plumes billow during Israeli air strikes in Gaza City on October 12
A fireball erupts from an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on October 12
An Israeli army M109 155mm self-propelled howitzer fires rounds near the border with Gaza in southern Israel on October 12
Palestinians stretcher an injured man following an Israeli strike in the southern Gaza Strip Thursday
Israeli tanks head towards the Gaza Strip border in southern Israel on Thursday
Mourners attend the funeral of Israeli soldier Shilo Rauchberger at the Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem
‘This evacuation is for your own safety. You will be able to return Gaza City only when another announcement permitting it is made.’
Conricus claimed the IDF has distributed a map showing Gaza City residents where to migrate and warned they should not go near any security fences.
‘Do not approach the border, only go south,’ he added, saying that they needed to distance themselves from Hamas members ‘who are using you as human shields.’
‘The IDF will continue to operate with significant force in Gaza City and will make significant efforts to avoid harming civilians.’
He said that civilians are ‘not our enemy’ and will not target them.
As Israel pounds Gaza from the air, Hamas militants have fired thousands of rockets into Israel, with attacks also coming from Hezbollah, in Lebanon to the north.
Amid concerns that the fighting could spread in the region, Syrian state media reported Israeli airstrikes on Thursday put two Syrian airports out of service.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to ‘crush’ Hamas after the militants stormed into the country’s south on Saturday and massacred hundreds of people, including killings of children in their homes and young people at a music festival.
Amid grief and demands for vengeance among the Israeli public, the government is under intense pressure to topple Hamas rather than continuing to try to bottle it up in Gaza. However, the civilian toll is mounting.
Inas Hamdan, an officer at the UN Palestinian refugee agency in Gaza City, said the order had sparked more chaos in the Gaza Strip.
‘No one understands what to do,’ she told a reporter with the Associated Press as she grabbed she grabbed whatever she could throw into her bags as the panicked shouts of her relatives could be heard around her.
She said all the UN staff in Gaza City and northern Gaza had been told to evacuate south to Rafah, a city that sits on the southern border with Egypt.
Nebal Farsakh, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Crescent in Gaza City, said there was no way more than one million people could be safely moved that fast.
‘Forget about food, forget about electricity, forget about fuel. The only concern now is just if you’re make it, if you’re going to live,’ Farsakh said, breaking into sobs.
‘What will happen to our patients?’ she asked. ‘We have wounded, we have elderly, we have children who are in hospitals.’
Farsakh said many of the medics were refusing to evacuate hospitals and abandon patients. Instead, she said, they called their colleagues to say goodbye.
A view of an explosion following a strike by IDF fighter jets on Hamas targets at a location given as the Gaza Strip
Fire and smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City during an Israeli air strike early Friday
The body of a Palestinian killed during Israeli air strikes is carried in a sheet on Thursday
Earlier, the Israeli military pulverised the Gaza Strip with airstrikes, prepared for a possible ground invasion and said its complete siege of the territory – which has left Palestinians desperate for food, fuel and medicine – would remain in place until Hamas militants free some 150 hostages taken during a grisly weekend incursion.
As the full scale of the horrors of the weekend were coming into focus, Israel’s military was ramping up preparations for a ground invasion, and Hamas was continuing to launch rockets into Israel.
‘Now is the time for war,’ said Israel’s military chief, Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi, as his country amassed tanks near the Gaza Strip.
Seeking to build support for its response, Israel’s government showed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO defense ministers graphic images of children and civilians they said Hamas had killed in a weekend rampage in Israel.
Blinken said they showed a baby ‘riddled with bullets,’ soldiers beheaded and young people burned in their cars.
‘It’s simply depravity in the worst imaginable way,’ he said. ‘It’s really beyond anything that we can comprehend.’
Israel has vowed to retaliate for the attack – the deadliest by Palestinian militants in Israeli history.
Like others across the globe, Blinken urged Israel to show restraint, but he also reiterated America’s support, saying: ‘We will always be there by your side.’
On Friday he was due to meet King Abdullah and Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, in Jordan as part of a Middle East tour aimed at stopping spillover from the war.
America’s top diplomat, Blinken planned to visit key U.S. allies Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates – some with influence on Hamas, an Islamist group backed by Iran.
Halevi said lessons would be drawn from the security failures around Gaza that enabled the attack.
‘We will learn, investigate, but now is the time for war,’ he said.
The U.S. military is placing no conditions on its security assistance to Israel, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said, adding Washington expected Israel’s military to ‘do the right things’ in prosecuting its war against Hamas.
Austin was due in Israel on Friday and planned to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
An armed Palestinian militant leading a man during the Supernova music festival
An armed Palestinian militant is seen walking around the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Reim in the Negev desert in southern Israel
Sitting on the back of a terrorist’s motorcycle, her outstretched arms pointing towards her helpless boyfriend, student Noa Argamani pleads for her life
Aftermath: Burnt-out and abandoned cars where revellers tried to escape the onslaught
At least 260 were killed in the massacre while many are still missing – either dead or taken hostage by the bloodthirsty militants
Hamas called on Palestinians to rise up on Friday in protest at Israel’s bombardment of the enclave, urging Palestinians to march to East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque and clash with Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank.
Israel has responded so far by putting Gaza, home to 2.3 million people, under siege and launching a bombing campaign that destroyed whole neighborhoods.
‘Not a single electricity switch will be flipped on, not a single faucet will be turned on and not a single fuel truck will enter until the Israeli hostages are returned home,’ Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz said on social media.
Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, an Israeli military spokesman, told reporters Thursday that forces ‘are preparing for a ground maneuver’ should political leaders order one.
A ground offensive in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas and where the population is densely packed into a sliver of land only 25 miles long, would likely bring even higher casualties on both sides in brutal house-to-house fighting.
As Israel pounds Gaza from the air, Hamas militants have fired thousands of rockets into Israel.
Amid concerns that the fighting could spread in the region, Syrian state media reported that Israeli airstrikes on Thursday put two Syrian international airports out of service.
The relentless barrage on Gaza – which the military said has so far involved 6,000 munitions – left Palestinians running through streets, carrying their belongings and looking for safety
A fireball erupts from an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Thursday
A shell goes off in the water off the beach of Gaza during an Israeli air strike
A strike Thursday afternoon in the Jabaliya refugee camp took down a residential building on families sheltering inside, killing at least 45 people, Gaza’s Interior Ministry said.
At least 23 of the dead were under the age of 18, including a month-old child, according to a list of the casualties.
The home belonging to the al-Shihab family was packed with relatives who had fled bombing in other areas. Neighbors said a second house was hit at the same time, but the toll was not immediately known.
The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
‘We can´t flee because anywhere you go, you are bombed,’ one neighbor, Khalil Abu Yahia, said. ‘You need a miracle to survive here.’
The number of people forced from their homes by the airstrikes soared 25% in a day, reaching 423,000 out of a population of 2.3 million, the U.N. said Thursday. Most crowded into U.N.-run schools.
Families were cutting down to one meal a day, said Rami Swailem, a 34-year-old lecturer at al-Azhar University, who had 32 relatives sheltering in his home. Water stopped coming to the building two days ago, and they have rationed what´s left in a tank on the roof.
Alaa Younis Abuel-Omrain has been staying in a U.N. school after a strike on her home killed eight members of her family – her mother, aunt, a sister, a brother and his wife and their three children. Most bakeries stopped producing bread for lack of electricity.
Palestinians evacuate wounded after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah refugee camp on the southern Gaza Strip
Israel has vowed to ‘crush’ Hamas after gunmen from the Palestinian Islamist group stormed across the border and killed 1,300 people
‘Even if there is food in some areas, we can´t get to it because of strikes,’ she said.
On Wednesday, Gaza´s only power station ran out of fuel and shut down, leaving only lights powered by scattered private generators.
Hospitals, overwhelmed by a constant stream of wounded and running out of supplies, have only a few days worth of fuel before their power cuts off, aid officials say.
‘Without electricity, hospitals risk turning into morgues,’ said Fabrizio Carboni, regional director of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Newborn incubators, kidney dialysis machines, X-ray equipment and more, are all dependent on power, he said.
Ambulance crews carrying bodies to the morgue at Gaza´s biggest hospital, Shifa, found no space left.
Dozens of full body bags were lined up in the hospital parking lot. Fourteen health facilities have been damaged in strikes, health officials said Thursday.
With Israel sealing off the territory, the only way in or out is through the crossing with Egypt at Rafah, but Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday that airstrikes on Rafah have prevented it from operating.
Egypt has been trying to convince Israel and the United States to allow aid and fuel through the crossing.
People are seen around destroyed buildings and debris at the Al-Shate’e refugee camp after an Israeli airstrike
An explosion at a residential tower caused by Israeli bombing raids in the northern Gaza Strip
Israel is employing a new tactic of leveling whole neighborhoods, rather than just individual buildings.
Hecht, the military spokesman, said targeting decisions were based on intelligence on locations being used by Hamas and that civilians were warned.
‘Right now, we are focused on taking out their senior leadership,’ Hecht said. The military said strikes have hit Hamas´ elite Nukhba forces, including command centers used by the fighters in Saturday´s attack, and the home of a senior Hamas naval operative used to store weapons.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to ‘crush’ Hamas after the militants stormed into the country´s south on Saturday and massacred hundreds of people, including killings of children in their homes and young people at a music festival.
Netanyahu said Hamas’ atrocities included beheading soldiers and raping women, descriptions that could not immediately be independently confirmed.
Amid grief and demands for vengeance among the Israeli public, the government is under intense pressure to topple Hamas rather than continuing to try to bottle it up in Gaza.
In a video released Thursday, civilian Hamas figures defended the group´s rampage and decried the civilian deaths in Gaza from six days of Israeli airstrikes.
The solemn video lacked the bravado of a recording aired Saturday by Hamas´s military wing that hailed ‘the greatest battle’ as the massacres were still taking place.
Netanyahu said Hamas’ atrocities included beheading soldiers and raping women, descriptions that could not immediately be independently confirmed
Basem Naim, a former Hamas government minister, said that in the ‘swift collapse’ of the Israeli military on Saturday, ‘chaos prevailed and civilians found themselves in the middle of the confrontation.’
The claim is contradicted by countless videos and survivor accounts of Hamas militants deliberately targeting and killing civilians in Israel.
Naim added that there would be no action to free the 150 captives taken back into Gaza while Israel’s operation continued.
Israel was a nation in mourning. At a funeral for a 25-year-old woman killed with at least 260 other people at a desert rave, and at another service for a slain Israeli soldier, mourners sat cross-legged on the ground next to caskets, wailing or quietly weeping.
In Gaza, too, mourners buried families together in shrouds. At one funeral, they placed the battered body of a little girl in the arms of her slain father.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12626255/Israel-orders-EVACUATION-1-1M-people-Northern-Gaza-24-hours-says.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Israel tells 1.1MILLION people in Northern Gaza to evacuate south within 24 hours as it prepares to launch massive ground assault in response to Hamas massacre: UN warns ‘impossible’ demand will create ‘a calamity’