Israeli military orders evacuation of Gaza City

A view of the great destruction aftermath of the Israeli army's withdrawal from the Shujaiyya neighborhood in eastern Gaza City, July 10, 2024. (Photo/AA)

The Israeli military has ordered all Palestinians to leave Gaza City and head south, pressing ahead with a fresh offensive across the north, south and centre of the war-stricken territory that has killed dozens of people over the past 48 hours.

The stepped-up military activity Wednesday came as US, Egyptian and Qatari mediators were meeting with Israeli officials in the Qatari capital, Doha, for talks trying to push through a long-elusive ceasefire deal between Israel and Palestinian resistance group Hamas.

Israel says it is pursuing Hamas members regrouping in various parts of Gaza nine months into the military’s devastating offensive. But heavy strikes in recent days along the length of the territory also could be aimed at hiking up pressure on Hamas in the ceasefire efforts.

Israel ordered residents of northern Gaza, including Gaza City, to flee south months ago as it operated in the area. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have remained in the hard-hit north, and many Palestinians say they have nowhere to go. Most of Gaza’s 2.3 million people are crammed into squalid tent camps in central and southern Gaza.

Ground troops have pushed into parts of Gaza City in recent days, triggering the flight of thousands of Palestinians trying to escape shelling and air strikes. The past week, the military ordered Palestinians to evacuate from eastern and central parts of the city.

Israel informed people in Gaza of the evacuation order by dropping leaflets asking "all those in Gaza City" to take two "safe routes" south to the area around the central town of Deir al Balah. Gaza City, it said, will "remain a dangerous combat zone."

Heavy bombings

In the second straight night of deadly strikes in central Gaza, Israeli bombardment early Wednesday hit four houses in the town of Deir al Balah and the nearby Nuseirat refugee camp, killing 20 Palestinians.

Among the dead were six children and three women, said authorities at al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, where the casualties were taken. The Associated Press news agency said its reporter counted the bodies. The house hit in Deir al Balah was located inside the “humanitarian safe zone” where Israel has told Palestinians to flee for refuge.

The overnight bombardment came hours after Israeli warplanes struck the entrance of a school sheltering displaced families outside the southern city of Khan Younis. The toll from the strike rose to 31 people killed, including eight children, and more than 50 wounded, officials at the nearby Nasser Hospital said Wednesday.

Footage aired by Al Jazeera television showed kids playing football in the school’s yard when a sudden boom shook the area, prompting shouts of “a strike, a strike!”

The Israeli army said the air strike near the school and reports of civilian casualties were under review, and claimed it was targeting a Hamas fighter who took part in the October 7 attack on Israel, though it provided no immediate evidence.

In nine months of bombardment and offensives in Gaza, Israel has killed more than 38,200 people and wounded more than 88,000, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in the territory.


Source: TRT