Israel’s military has warned 1.1 million people living in northern Gaza to evacuate their homes, amid signs Israel is set to ramp up its retaliatory offensive against Hamas following the group’s October 7 terror attacks.
“Civilians of Gaza City, evacuate south for your own safety and the safety of your families, and distance yourself from Hamas terrorists who are using you as human shields,” the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said.
“In the following days, the IDF will continue to operate significantly in Gaza City and make extensive efforts to avoid harming civilians.”
The UN on Thursday said it was informed by their liaison officers in the Israeli military that “the entire population of Gaza north of Wadi Gaza should relocate to southern Gaza within the next 24 hours.”
The UN has decried such an order, saying it is impossible for civilians to evacuate.
“The United Nations considers it impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences,” according to a statement from Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary General.
Dujarric said the UN “strongly appeals for any such order, if confirmed, to be rescinded, so as to avoid what could transform what is already a tragedy into a calamitous situation.”
The order applies to all UN staff and those sheltered in UN facilities – including schools, health centers and clinics, according to the statement.
Gaza is one of the world’s most densely populated pieces of land, with more than 2 million people crammed into 140 square miles, its borders blockaded for years by Israel and Egypt. Gaza City is part of the coastal strip and is particularly crowded.