All residents of Gaza City may be forced to relocate, according to the UN
The Israeli military has urged over 1 million people to leave their homes in Gaza City and urgently move south. The UN has warned of “devastating humanitarian consequences.”
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) issued the evacuation order, calling it a “humanitarian step.” It did not mention any specific deadline, with a spokesperson acknowledging it would take “some time.”
“The IDF calls on all residents of Gaza City to evacuate their homes, move south for their protection and settle in the area south of the Gaza River,” the military said in a post on X. “This evacuation is for your personal safety. It will be possible to return to Gaza City only after a notification confirming this.”
The UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Department of Safety and Security in Gaza (OCHA oPt) was notified just before midnight local time that “the entire population of Gaza north of Wadi Gaza should relocate to southern Gaza within the next 24 hours,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement to multiple media outlets on Friday morning.
The IDF vowed to “continue to operate significantly in Gaza City in the coming days” and has urged civilians to “distance yourself from Hamas who use you as a human shield.”
The UN official emphasized that it is “impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences.”
“This amounts to approximately 1.1 million people. The same order applied to all UN staff and those sheltered in UN facilities – including schools, health centers and clinics,” the spokesperson 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“The United Nations strongly appeals for any such order, if confirmed, to be rescinded avoiding what could transform what is already a tragedy into a calamitous situation,” Dujarric added.
As of Thursday night, the number of people already forced to flee their homes amid the ongoing Israeli airstrikes has increased to 423,378, or roughly 21% of the entire population of Gaza, according to the latest flash update by the OCHA. About two-thirds of the internally displaced persons are taking shelter in facilities operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
Hamas militants launched Operation ‘Al-Aqsa Flood’ raid last Saturday with a barrage of rockets fired from Gaza before advancing rapidly into Israeli territory, storming multiple towns and villages. Reports of shocking brutality soon followed, with at least 260 Israeli and foreign civilians slaughtered at a music festival and an unknown number captured by the militants.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a state of war on Sunday, as IDF troops were deployed to clear Israeli towns and villages of Hamas fighters. Israeli planes have conducted constant airstrikes on Gaza ever since.
At least 1,300 Israelis have been killed and more than 3,000 wounded, according to figures released by the Israeli government on Friday. More than 1,500 Palestinians have been killed and over 6,000 more wounded, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.