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Israel gives Gazans 24 hours to relocate south; Hamas calls it ‘fake propaganda’

Gaza, (The Palestine Information Centre)Israel has ordered residents of Gaza City to evacuate the area within 24 hours, in what is viewed as a precursor of a ground invasion by the occupying entity after suffering a serious setback by the Palestinian resistance groups over the past few days.

In a statement released on Friday, Israel’s military called on all people living north of the Gaza Strip, which amount to more than one million, to relocate south.

The Israeli military said it would operate “significantly” in Gaza City in the coming days and civilians would only be able to return when another announcement was made.

“Now is a time for war,” said Israel’s minister of military affairs Yoav Gallant as the regime’s warplanes continue pounding Gaza for the seventh consecutive day in relentless attacks that have claimed the lives of at least 1,500 Palestinians, including some 500 children and 280 women.

Hamas said the Gaza relocation warning was “fake propaganda” and urged citizens not to fall for it, also calling on Palestinians to rise up on Friday and march to al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied Old City of al-Quds in protest.

Hamas armed wing al-Qassam Brigades said it launched 150 rockets towards the city of Asqalan in Israel “in response to the displacement and targeting of civilians”.

Israel started its onslaught on Saturday after resistance groups launched multi-pronged Operation al-Aqsa Storm, the largest military operation against the occupying regime in decades, , leaving more than 1,300 settlers and troops dead and three times as many injured.

Since then, the resistance groups have fired thousands of rockets in retaliatory strikes at the occupied territories.

The Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million people, is under years-long siege by the Israeli regime.

The attacks have already displaced more than 420,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, according to the United Nations.

‘Devastating humanitarian consequences’

The United Nations said it considered it impossible for such a movement of people to take place “without devastating humanitarian consequences.”

The United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) said it relocated its central operations center and international staff to Gaza’s south to continue its humanitarian operations and support its staff and Palestinian refugees.

The World Health Organization said the Palestinian health ministry has told them it would be impossible to move vulnerable hospital patients to the south of the Gaza Strip.

“The Palestinian Ministry of Health has informed WHO that is impossible to evacuate vulnerable hospital patients from the north of Gaza,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told reporters in Geneva.
The UN health agency also called for immediate humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip, warning Israel’s blockade and bombardment have left the enclave’s health system at “breaking point”.

It noted that Gaza’s overstretched hospitals had only a few hours of electricity a day, with fuel being rationed to maintain critical services including intensive care, and X-ray and dialysis services.

The WHO also called for the opening of a humanitarian corridor to allow health workers into the territory, as well as the evacuation of the sick and injured.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also raised concern about the deteriorating situation in Gaza, describing the situation as “abhorrent”.

“As Gaza loses power, hospitals lose power, putting newborns in incubators and elderly patients on oxygen at risk. Kidney dialysis stops, and X-rays can’t be taken,” Fabrizio Carboni, the regional director for the Near and Middle East for the ICRC said in a statement. “Without electricity, hospitals risk turning into morgues.”

Israel has said it has dropped about 6,000 bombs on Gaza since it began its bombardment.

Gaza has about 30 hospitals, 13 of them operated by the Ministry of Health and others privately run.

The WHO said it had documented 34 attacks on healthcare services in Gaza since Saturday. By Thursday, 11 WHO health workers had been killed while 16 were injured. Another five ICRC workers were killed. The WHO said 20 ambulances had also been hit.

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