Israel Masses Troops For Ground Assault On Hamas, Palestinians Flee Northern Gaza

New Delhi: As Israel prepares for a ground invasion, thousands of Palestinians left the north of the Gaza Strip on Saturday, news agency Reuters reported. Israel continued to bomb the area with more air strikes and promised to keep two roads safe for people to flee. Israel has ordered the entire northern half of the Gaza Strip, including Gaza City, to evacuate by Saturday morning or face a ground invasion. It has also offered two safe routes for the Palestinians to flee south until 4:00 pm. Israeli military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said that Israeli reserve soldiers were ready for the next phase of the operation. “They are all around the Gaza Strip, in the south, in the centre and in the north, and they are preparing themselves for whatever target they get, whatever task.”

Israel has vowed to destroy the Hamas militant group that controls Gaza in response to its attack on Israeli towns a week ago, which killed 1,300 people, mostly civilians, and took many hostages. Israel has imposed a total blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million Palestinians, and unleashed unprecedented air strikes. Gaza authorities say more than 1,900 people have been killed, a quarter of them children.

The Gaza Strip is already one of the most densely populated areas in the world, and Israel’s evacuation order for the north has forced those fleeing south to cram with relatives and friends, in schools or in rented flats.

Israel says the order to leave is temporary, and a humanitarian gesture to protect civilians while it targets Hamas fighters hiding in Gaza City. The United Nations says moving so many people inside the besieged territory is impossible without causing a humanitarian crisis.

Hamas Shows Resistance

Hamas has sworn to resist until the end, and says the order to leave is a ploy to make people abandon their homes. Gaza City mosques have broadcast messages telling people to stay. Gaza authorities said 70 people were killed and 200 were wounded when Israel attacked vehicles carrying people escaping from the north to the south on Friday. 

“We are striking our enemies with unprecedented might,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a rare televised statement after the Jewish Sabbath began on Friday. “I emphasise that

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