Palestinians flee from east to west of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, during the ongoing Israeli bombardment. AP
Israel on Sunday ordered the evacuation of residents in and around Khan Younis, the second largest city in Gaza, along with residents of at least five more nearby areas.
Residents said the Israeli military dropped leaflets ordering them to move south to Rafah or a coastal area in the southwest. “Khan Younis city is a dangerous combat zone,” the leaflets read.
Later on Sunday, Israeli military forces started ground operations and Israeli tanks shelled sites north of Khan Younis, as reported by Al-Hadath TV channel.
Israel's Chief of Staff Gen. Herzi Halevi confirms the military is beginning to operate in southern Gaza.
Speaking to troops of the Gaza Division in southern Israel, Halevi said, “It will be no less powerful than [the operations in northern Gaza], it will have no less results.”
“Hamas commanders will meet the IDF everywhere,” he claimed.
“We have the capabilities to do it most thoroughly, and just as we did it with strength and thoroughly in the north of the Gaza Strip, we are also doing it now in the south of the Gaza Strip. We are also continuing to deepen our achievements in the north of the Gaza Strip,” Halevi said.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that about 1.8 million people, roughly 75 percent of Gaza’s population, are internally displaced, up from a previous figure of 1.7 million.
The main hospital in Khan Younis received on Sunday at least three dead and dozens wounded from an Israeli strike against a residential building in the eastern part of the city, according to an Associated Press journalist at the hospital.
The Palestinian health ministry on Sunday said that since the war started on 7 October, Israel's campaign has killed at least 15,523 people, 70 percent of them women and children. More than 40,000 people have been wounded in Israeli attacks.