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Evacuation of Gaza City ordered for “major operation”

Photo: Eyad Baba Agence France-Presse AFP Dozens of people have died in Israeli bombings over the past two days, including here in Deir al-Balah on Wednesday.

France Media Agency in the Gaza Strip

Posted at 5:00 p.m. Updated at 7:32 p.m.

  • Middle East

The Israeli army announced Wednesday evening that it had “completed” its operations launched on June 27 in Choujaiya, a district in the east of Gaza City, the scene of violent fighting since that date.

“The soldiers […] completed their mission, which lasted approximately two weeks, in the Choujaiya area,” according to a military statement.

The offensive allowed the dismantling of “eight tunnels” and the elimination of “dozens of terrorists” as well as the destruction of “combat bases and booby-trapped buildings”.

The offensive on Shujaiya, in which soldiers from elite units were engaged on the ground, was extended on Monday to the neighborhoods of central Gaza City.

The Israeli army called on all residents on Wednesday to evacuate Gaza City, the main municipality of the besieged Palestinian territory, where its soldiers are engaged in a major operation against the Islamist movement Hamas.

Thousands of leaflets calling on “all people” to evacuate through “safety corridors” were dropped over the town in the north of the territory. These leaflets warn that this already partly destroyed city, where there were until now 300,000 to 350,000 people, according to the UN, remains “a dangerous combat zone”.

The army launched a ground operation on June 27 in the Choujaiya sector, in the east of the city, before extending it to the central districts on Monday.

Ground troops, supported by tanks and aerial bombardments, are engaged in intense fighting against Hamas and its allies, the most violent to occur in Gaza City since the start of the war , which have already caused tens of thousands of residents to flee.

These new guidelines “will only add to the mass suffering for Palestinian families, many of whom have been displaced on numerous occasions,” lamented Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General António Guterres, on Wednesday.

“Civilians must be protected,” he said.

Israeli government spokesman David Mencer said the aim of this evacuation was “to get civilians out of harm's way” while the military tries to “reach the terrorists where they are.”

After months of Diplomatic efforts failed, new talks must begin in Qatar to try to move towards a ceasefire and release of hostages kidnapped during Hamas's October 7 attack on Israel that sparked the war .

An Israeli delegation led by Mossad chief David Barnea arrived in Doha on Wednesday, according to a source close to the negotiations. CIA Director William Burns was also expected there.

A “ghost town”

The army announced Wednesday that soldiers had carried out “an operation against Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists who were using the headquarters of UNRWA,” the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees in the Middle East, “as base for launching attacks”, and that they had “eliminated terrorists”.

According to UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini, the fighting in recent days threw 350,000 people onto the roads, although almost the entire population of the territory had already been displaced by the war.

“This is the 12th time that we are displaced. How many more times will we have to endure this? ? A thousand times ? Where will we end up? ?” said Oum Nimr al-Jamal, a Palestinian who fled Gaza City with her family.

Civil Defense spokesman Mahmoud Bassal and witnesses said Israeli forces had withdrawn from Shujaiya. The army denied the comments, adding that its forces were “still operating in the area.”

This area has become “a ghost town”, Bassal said .

Images from Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Wednesday showed residents of Choujaiya walking amid rubble, in a devastated landscape.< /p>

Fighting is also raging in the south of the territory, where Israeli tanks entered the center of Rafah, according to witnesses who reported intense fire launched into this town located on the border of Egypt.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the army had “eliminated or wounded 60 percent” of Hamas fighters during the nine-month war.

“Stop this terrible war”

On Tuesday night, for the fourth time in four days, an Israeli strike hit a school sheltering displaced people in Abassan, near Khan Younis in the south, killing 29 people, including children, according to a medical source and Hamas. The army said it was targeting “terrorists.”

Paris and Berlin condemned the strikes.

The war broke out on October 7 after an attack by Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza into southern Israel, which resulted in the death of 1,95 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data.

Of the 251 people kidnapped at the time, 116 are still being held in Gaza, 42 of whom are dead, according to the army.

In response, Israel promised to destroy Hamas, in power in Gaza since 2007, and launched a military offensive that has so far killed 38,243 people, mostly civilians, according to the Gaza government's health ministry. , led by Hamas.

During a meeting Wednesday in Jerusalem with White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk, Israeli Prime Minister , Benjamin Netanyahu, reiterated his commitment to a ceasefire agreement “as long as Israel's red lines are respected.”

An official of Hamas, Hossam Badran, declared to AFP that the “intensification” of Israeli “massacres” in the Gaza Strip had the effect of reinforcing the demands of the Islamist movement.

On Wednesday, families of hostages began a march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to push the government to reach a deal on the release of their loved ones.

“We call All of Israel to join us to put pressure, to remind Netanyahu […] that he must sign an agreement, bring them back and stop this terrible war,” Ayala Metzger, Yoram Metzger’s daughter-in-law, told AFP , who died in captivity at age 80 and whose body is still in Gaza.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116