Israel warns northern Gaza residents to move towards south in next 24 hours

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Israel Friday informed the United Nations that it has warned 1.1 million northern Gaza residents to relocate towards the southern territory in the next 24 hours, evacuating the north of Wadi Gaza.

The warning from Israel was confirmed to AFP by a UN spokesperson, who called for revocation of the order on humanitarian grounds.

The spokesperson for the UN secretary-general, Stephane Dujarric, said the Israeli military informed the UN about the order, which also applied to all of its own staff and people sheltered in the UN facilities including schools, health centres and clinics.

Israel’s army, too, said it has called for all Gaza City residents to evacuate their homes and head south of the territory “for their safety”.

“The IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) calls for the evacuation of all civilians of Gaza City from their homes southwards for their own safety and protection and move to the area south of the Wadi Gaza as shown on the map,” the military said in a statement.

“In the following days, the IDF will continue to operate significantly in Gaza City and make extensive efforts to avoid harming civilians,” it added.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) is sheltering more than 60% of the 423,000 people displaced in recent days in the Gaza Strip.

It was not immediately clear how many people were currently located north of Wadi Gaza.

A fireball erupts from an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on October 12, 2023. — AFP
A fireball erupts from an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on October 12, 2023. — AFP
‘Devastating humanitarian consequences’
“The United Nations considers it impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences,” Dujarric said.

“The United Nations strongly appeals for any such order, if confirmed, to be rescinded avoiding what could transform what is already a tragedy into a calamitous situation.”

Israel calls UN’s response ‘shameful’
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said the UN’s reponse to the evacuation call was “shameful.”

“For many years, the UN has turned a blind eye to the arming of Hamas and its use of the civilian population and civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip as a hiding place for its weapons and murder,” Erdan said in a note from his office to AFP.

“Now, instead of standing by Israel…it preaches to Israel”.

“It is better for the UN to focus now on returning the hostages, condemning Hamas, and supporting Israel´s right to defend itself,” he said.

1,500 Palestinians martyred by Israel
In its bid to fight against the brutalities imposed on Palestine’s persecuted population by Israel, Hamas, on Saturday, launched a surprise attack by sweeping into small towns, kibbutzim and a music festival. The action by Hamas left 1,200 Israelis dead, while several are claimed to have been taken hostage.

Israel, meanwhile, has continued with its decades-long offensive against unarmed Palestinians through raining air and artillery strikes on Gaza — a densely populated enclave of 2.3 million people — flattening buildings and martyring more than 1,500 Palestinians.

A Security Council meeting on the Israel-Hamas situation has been called for Friday.

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