Gaza City’s Deadly Warning: Israeli Military Orders Palestinians to Evacuate as Conflict Escalates

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – The Israeli military has issued a broad directive for all Palestinians to evacuate Gaza City, declaring the area a “dangerous combat zone” as it intensifies operations in the enclave’s largest urban center. Israel Defense Forces dropped leaflets over the city, urging civilians to flee south along specific routes. This move follows the recent announcement of a new offensive in the region, causing fear and panic among the hundreds of thousands of people still residing in northern Gaza, including Gaza City, according to United Nations estimates.

The United Nations humanitarian affairs office expressed concern over Israel’s instruction for people to leave Gaza City, stating that it will only worsen the suffering for Palestinian families. The World Food Program also voiced warnings about the unpredictable and volatile situation in Gaza City, hindering its operations in the midst of an ongoing crisis.

Most of Gaza’s approximately 2.3 million residents are already displaced, with overcrowded safe zones in the area leaving little room for new arrivals. The leaflets distributed over Gaza informed residents that they could move quickly without inspection, exempting them from passing through the Netzarim checkpoint where the IDF has detained Palestinian men in the past.

Despite the evacuation order issued by Israel, some residents, like 39-year-old Anhar Sakik, have chosen to stay in their homes. Sakik, who resides near the UNRWA headquarters with 35 relatives, expressed her refusal to leave despite the current circumstances. The Hamas-run Interior Ministry advised people to stay close to their homes if in danger, prompting only a few families to flee along the designated route south.

The situation in Gaza City remains dire, with reports of heavy bombardment, restriction of emergency services, and ongoing clashes between IDF forces and Hamas fighters. The Palestine Red Crescent Society highlighted the challenges in reaching the sick and wounded due to the intensity of the situation.

As the conflict escalates, concerns about civilian casualties continue to rise, with reports of significant loss of life and injuries on both sides. The IDF claimed significant progress in dismantling Hamas forces, while efforts to negotiate a ceasefire have been put in motion. Amidst the chaos and devastation, the toll on civilians continues to mount, underscoring the urgent need for humanitarian assistance and a peaceful resolution to the conflict.