Palestinians flee Gaza City after Israel orders evacuation

AP , Monday 8 Jul 2024

Residents were fleeing their homes and shelters in eastern Gaza City overnight into Monday after the Israeli military ordered the evacuations of five residential blocks in the area, which saw heavy clashes with Palestinian resistance fighters.

Palestinians flee the area following an Israeli evacuation order during the Israeli military bombardment of Gaza City, July 2024. AFP


It was unclear how many people had fled the area, but residents said thousands of people had departed seeking safety. The United Nations and other aid groups did not immediately have estimates.

Col. Avichay Adraee, the Israeli army Arabic-language spokesman, published a list of zones subject to evacuation orders.

The zones include the Sabra, Rimal, Tel al-Hawa, and Daraj neighborhoods of Gaza City, according to Israeli army.

The new exodus occurred in the north of the Gaza Strip, an area hard-hit in the early weeks of the war that Israel previously said it had seized control of.

Residents also reported intense bombing by Israeli warplanes in the eastern and southern parts of Gaza City.

Ground fighting has also raged in the Shijaiyah neighborhood and its surroundings for the past two weeks.

“We fled in the darkness amid heavy strikes,” said Sayeda Abdel-Baki, a mother of three children who was sheltering at her relatives’ home. “This is my fifth displacement.”

Fadel Naeem, the director of the Al-Ahli hospital, which is close to the evacuated area, said patients and their companions fled the facility in panic.

He said there were no evacuation orders for the hospital but “hundreds of patients and companions have panicked and left for fear of the worst.”

He said patients with critical conditions have been evacuated to other hospitals in northern Gaza.

The Israeli military renewed its ground offensive on Shijaiyah last month, forcing between 60,000 and 80,000 people to flee the area.

In its latest update, the Palestinian health ministry raised the Palestinian death toll in Gaza to at least 38,193 people since Israel started its war on Gaza on October 7.

The toll includes at least 40 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said. It added that 87,903 people have been wounded in Gaza since the war began.

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