Israel has issued a stark warning to residents in the southern city of Khan Younis, urging them to relocate westward away from the potential line of fire and closer to humanitarian aid.
This latest move suggests Israel’s intention to focus its military operations on Hamas in southern Gaza after already targeting the northern part of the region.
Mark Regev, an aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, emphasized the need for civilians to move out of harm’s way, stating, “We’re asking people to relocate. I know it’s not easy for many of them, but we don’t want to see civilians caught up in the crossfire.”
This plea for relocation could impact hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who had previously fled southward from Gaza City during the Israeli assault.
Khan Younis, with a population exceeding 400,000, faces the potential worsening of an already dire humanitarian crisis as residents are asked to relocate once again.
Israel has bee resolute in its commitment to dismantle the Hamas militant group, which controls the Gaza Strip, following a series of violent incidents.
Since Hamas militants entered Israel on October 7, resulting in the death of 1,200 people and the capture of 240 hostages, Israel has taken drastic measures.
The depopulation of the entire northern half of Gaza and widespread bombings in Gaza City have left two-thirds of the strip’s 2.3 million Palestinians homeless.
The Gaza health authorities reported a death toll exceeding 12,000 people on Friday, with 5,000 of them being children. The United Nations considers these figures credible, although updates are now infrequent due to the challenges of collecting information in the conflict zone.
Israel Issues Warning to Palestinians in Khan Younis
Israel dropped leaflets over eastern areas of Khan Younis instructing people to evacuate to shelters, indicating imminent military operations. Mark Regev explained that Israeli troops would need to advance into the city to root out Hamas fighters from underground tunnels and bunkers.
To facilitate the relocation, Israel is urging residents to move west, where humanitarian aid can be delivered more swiftly through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. The western areas are seen as less built-up, providing a safer environment for civilians.
As the conflict enters its seventh week, there is no indication of a ceasefire, despite international calls for humanitarian pauses. The situation in the occupied West Bank also escalated, with at least 5 Palestinians killed and two injured in an Israeli strike on a building in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus.
In response to warnings of a humanitarian crisis, Israel has agreed to allow fuel trucks into Gaza and pledged “no limitation” on aid requested by the United Nations. This move comes amid increasing concerns about starvation and disease in Gaza.
The White House expressed satisfaction with Israel’s agreement for fuel deliveries and called for them to continue regularly and in larger quantities.
Despite the ongoing conflict, there is a glimmer of hope as Israel considers expanding humanitarian aid efforts. The international community continues to watch closely as the situation unfolds, hoping for a resolution to the longstanding and deeply rooted tensions in the region.