Jerusalem, Oct 13 (EFE).- Chaos and confusion prevailed among the civilians in the northern part of the Gaza strip and the capital on Friday after Israel ordered the residents to evacuate towards the enclave’s south, without receiving clear instructions or knowing where to go even as Hamas urged them to stay put and ignore the “psychological war.”
A resident of the besieged territory, who has taken refuge with his family at a Christian monastery in Gaza city, told EFE that he was trying to find ways to move towards the south of the strip even as the Israeli military continued its strikes and accelerated an offensive against Hamas, having killed at least 1,572 people in the enclave so far and wounded 7,262.
Israeli forces have allowed a 24-hour window for evacuation and communicated this to the United Nations, which has insisted that amid a general collapse in infrastructure and supplies and an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, the period was too short and evacuation was “impossible.”
EFE had asked an Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson about the exact deadline for civilian evacuation and was yet to receive a response.
Meanwhile local media outlets reported that Gaza’s Hamas-led government had accused Israel of creating confusion among citizens and trying to damage the unity of the internal front, while urging citizens to ignore the “occupation’s (Israel’s) attempts” to intimidate them as part of psychological warfare.
Israel had urged Gaza residents to move to the Wadi Gaza area in the south of the enclave as it plans to intensify attacks against Palestinian militants, who had carried out a surprise attack against Israel on Saturday and triggered a war that is now entering its seventh day.
As per the IDF, most of the military operations from the enclave are carried out from Gaza city, which is the largest urban concentration in the Palestinian territories with a population of around 600,000.
Israel also urged civilians in the northern part of the Gaza strip to evacuate and said they would only be able to return “when permitted.”
The announcement implies the relocation of around 1.1 million people – nearly half of Gaza’s population – which the UN has dubbed impossible and warned of “serious humanitarian consequences.”
The warning is being seen as a signal that Israel could soon launch a ground invasion of the enclave, which has appeared imminent in recent days.
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on Friday moved its main center of operations and non-local personnel to the south of Gaza, where it would continue humanitarian operations.
As per the UN, the number of internally displaced people within Gaza has risen to over 423,000, while access to food and essential services – medicine, water, basic sanitation – are on the verge of collapsing due to the lack of power supply and a complete Israeli blockade that is preventing any supplies from entering the enclave.
So far, all efforts to establish a humanitarian corridor with Egypt or a buffer zone within Gaza to protect civilians have failed.
Egyptian authorities have made proposals in this regard, but the corridor plan was rejected by Hamas, while Israel has refused to recognize a safe zone or lift the blockade. EFE