July 19, 2024

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Israeli army expands order to evacuate entire Gaza City

Israeli army expands order to evacuate entire Gaza City

Omar Al-Qatta/AFP/Getty Images

Rescue workers stand on the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israeli shelling near the Great Omari Mosque in the Old City of Gaza City.


The Israeli military expanded the order to evacuate Gaza City entirely on Wednesday after Sending tens of thousands of Palestinians Several people fled several neighborhoods in the city earlier this week.

It also issued a notice saying it would suspend inspections along two roads in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, to allow civilians to reach humanitarian areas more easily and quickly because the city “will remain a dangerous combat zone.”

“We announce to you that Tariq Bin Ziyad and Omar Al-Mukhtar Streets are considered safe passages for crossing west to Rashid Street (the sea) and from there south, and Al-Wahda and Khalil Al-Wazir Streets are considered safe passages for crossing east to the Zeitoun neighborhood and the city roundabout and from there to Salah Al-Din Street south,” this is what was stated in a leaflet dropped by the Israeli Defense Forces in the city.

Gaza City was hit by heavy shelling Wednesday night. A local journalist told CNN that the building he was sheltering in was hit, forcing him and his family to move again.

Gaza Civil Defense spokesman Mahmoud Basal told CNN he was aware of dozens of deaths in the industrial zone east of Gaza City and the financial center in the city center.

Bassal added that a number of Palestinians are trapped in the Jordanian Hospital and Al-Aqsa University in the city, where the situation remains dangerous.

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He added, “Today, suddenly, all bakeries in Gaza were completely closed. It seems that they were instructed to do so, or that they are located in the red zone.”

The medical charity Doctors Without Borders said on Wednesday that it had been forced to close its last health facility in northern Gaza after an evacuation order issued by Israel.

Ayad Baba/AFP/Getty Images

A Palestinian child walks past a school used as a shelter by displaced people in Deir al-Balah.

The teams continued to provide care to the patients until the last moment, before fleeing the area that came under heavy gunfire. Doctors Without Borders said on its website:

Citizens were seen walking on Salah al-Din Street in northern Gaza carrying their belongings, some of them carrying white flags made of sticks and white shirts.

Baraa, a young man pushing a bicycle, said he lives alone with his brother in northern Gaza, but “the situation has become very difficult, and there is no food.”

A woman from Shujaiya, one of the largest neighborhoods in Gaza City, said the area had been subjected to continuous shelling, adding that she had seen many dead people in the streets.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has warned that directives to residents to leave Gaza City could exacerbate the plight of already displaced communities.

The IDF has issued evacuation orders affecting large parts of Gaza City since Sunday, urging 250,000 residents to head to “safe areas” further south, in Deir al-Balah and al-Zawayda.

The IDF says the evacuation orders are necessary to prevent civilians from becoming entangled in its renewed operations in areas where Hamas is seeking to re-establish itself. The IDF insists it is doing its utmost to avoid civilian casualties.

Hamas said the evacuations threatened to return negotiations on a ceasefire and hostage release deals to “square one.”

“Every day they asked us to evacuate, so we moved from place to place while Israeli warplanes shot at us,” Mahmoud al-Shaqra, a resident of Gaza City, told CNN as he was evacuated south.

“Gaza City is completely destroyed, it has become unlivable, there is no food, no drink, nothing here, there is no safety,” Al-Sharaqa said.