Israel orders evacuations as it widens offensive, but Palestinians are running out of places to go

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Israeli warplanes heavily bombarded an area around Khan Younis in southern Gaza on Monday

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli warplanes heavily bombarded an area around Khan Younis in southern Gaza on Monday as the military ordered mass evacuations from the town in the face of a widening ground offensive that is pushing Palestinians into a progressively shrinking portion of the besieged territory.

 

Israel orders evacuations as it widens offensive, but Palestinians are running out of places to go

The expanded assault posed a deadly choice for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians — either stay in the path of Israeli forces or flee within the confines of southern Gaza with no guarantee of safety. Aid workers warned that the mass movement would worsen the already dire humanitarian catastrophe in the territory.

 

“Another wave of displacement is underway, and the humanitarian situation worsens by the hour,” the Gaza chief of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, Thomas White, said in a post on X.

 

Adding to the chaos, phone and internet networks across Gaza collapsed again Monday evening, the Palestinian telecom provider PalTel reported. The network has broken down multiple times during the war, making it largely impossible for residents to communicate with each other or the outside world for hours or sometimes several days until it is repaired.

 

Israel has vowed to eliminate Gaza’s Hamas rulers, whose Oct. 7 attack into Israel killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and triggered the deadliest Israeli-Palestinian violence in decades. The war has already killed thousands of Palestinians and displaced over three-fourths of the territory’s population of 2.3 million people. Palestinian health officials say bombardment has killed several hundred civilians since a weeklong truce ended Friday.

 

Already under mounting pressure from its top ally, the United States, Israel appears to be racing to strike a death blow against Hamas — if that’s possible, given the group’s deep roots in Palestinian society — before any new cease-fire. But the mounting toll is likely to further increase international pressure to return to the negotiating table.

 

Airstrikes and the ground offensive in northern Gaza have reduced large swaths of Gaza City and nearby areas to a rubble-filled wasteland. Hundreds of thousands of residents fled south during the assault.

 

Now around 2 million people — most of the territory’s population — are crowded into the 230 square kilometers (90 square miles) of southern and central Gaza, where Israel’s ground offensive is now moving, threatening to render even larger areas uninhabitable.

 

Since the truce’s collapse, the military has ordered the population out of an area of about 62 square kilometers (24 square miles) in and near Khan Younis, according to the evacuation maps issued by the Israeli military. That further reduces the space available for Palestinians by more than a quarter.

 

FIGHTING IN CENTRAL GAZA

 

Constant bombardment on the edges of Khan Younis, Gaza’s second-largest city, lit up the sky over the town Monday evening, and a stream of ambulances carrying wounded, including several women and children, flowed to the main hospital.

 

Over the past few days, Israeli strikes have been “on a ferocious scale,” said Mohammed Aghaalkurdi, an aid worker with the group Medical Aid for Palestinians in Khan Younis. “Barely has any kind of aid been delivered to the people, nor is there any food left in shops.”

 

He said neighborhoods and shelters were emptying as people fled. Leaflets dropped by the Israeli military warn people to go south toward the border with Egypt, but they are unable to leave Gaza, as both Israel and neighboring Egypt have refused to accept any refugees.


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CRN News - Breaking News: Israel orders evacuations as it widens offensive, but Palestinians are running out of places to go
Israel orders evacuations as it widens offensive, but Palestinians are running out of places to go
Israeli warplanes heavily bombarded an area around Khan Younis in southern Gaza on Monday
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