UN urges Israel to call off northern Gaza evacuation order

AFP , Friday 13 Oct 2023

The United Nations urged Israel to rescind its call for 1.1 million residents of northern Gaza to relocate to the south of the territory within 24 hours, amid massive bombardments in a grisly retaliation for Hamas' unprecedented attack on Saturday.

A Palestinian child watches as smoke billows on the horizon after an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on October 13, 2023. Israel has called for the immediate relocation of 1.1 million people in Gaza amid its massive bombardment in a grisly retaliation to Hamas attacks, with the United Nations warning of devastating consequences. AFP


"The United Nations considers it impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences," Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN secretary-general, said on Thursday.

He told AFP that the UN "strongly appeals for any such order, if confirmed, to be rescinded avoiding what could transform what is already a tragedy into a calamitous situation."

Israel's army said it has called for all Gaza City residents to evacuate their homes and head south of the territory "for their safety".

Dujarric said the army's evacuation order applies to all UN staff and those sheltering in UN facilities -- including schools, health centers and clinics.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) is sheltering more than 60 percent of the 423,000 people displaced in recent days in the Gaza Strip.

It was not immediately clear how many people were currently located north of Wadi Gaza.

Israel has been reeling since an October 7 attack, when Hamas militants killed more than 1,200 people and took about 150 captive.

In a grisly retaliation, Israel has rained air and artillery strikes on Gaza -- a densely populated enclave of 2.3 million people -- flattening buildings and killing more than 1,400 people, many of them civilians.

A Security Council meeting on the conflict has been called for Friday.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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