Israel orders people in crowded southern Gaza to evacuate

Dec 04, 2023

Tel Aviv [Israel], December 4: Israel's military ordered more areas in and around Gaza's second-largest city of Khan Younis to evacuate on Sunday, followed by heavy bombardment, as it shifted its offensive to the southern half of the territory where it asserts that leaders of the Hamas group are hiding.
Palestinians in Gaza said they were running out of places to go. The Gaza Strip, bordering Israel and Egypt, is sealed. Many of the territory's 2.3 million people are crammed in the south after Israel ordered civilians to leave the north in the early days of the war sparked by the Oct 7 attack by Hamas and others that killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, in southern Israel.
Before the latest evacuation orders, United Nations monitors said the areas told to evacuate made up about one-quarter of the territory. Heavy bombardment was reported overnight into Sunday around Khan Younis and the southern city of Rafah, as well as parts of the north that had been the focus of Israel's shattering air and ground offensive.
Juliette Toma, director of communications at the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, said nearly 958,000 displaced people were in 99 United Nations facilities in the southern Gaza Strip. UN human rights chief Volker Türk urged an end to the war, saying civilian suffering was "too much to bear."
Hopes for another temporary truce were fading. A weeklong cease-fire that expired on Friday had facilitated the release of dozens of the around 240 Gaza-held Israeli and foreign hostages in exchange for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. But Israel has called its negotiators home.
"We will continue the war until we achieve all its goals, and it's impossible to achieve those goals without the ground operation," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday. One goal is to remove Hamas from power in Gaza.
It was not clear how many people had been killed since the end of the cease-fire.
On Sunday, Israel's military widened evacuation orders in and around Khan Younis, telling residents of at least five more areas and neighbourhoods to leave.Residents said the military dropped leaflets ordering them to move south to the border city of Rafah or to a coastal area in the southwest. "Khan Younis city is a dangerous combat zone," leaflets read.
Source: Qatar Tribune