New Delhi: Israel’s army has said that all the people living in northern Gaza must move to the southern region within the next 24 hours, the United Nations has said. This indicates that a massive ground invasion may be on the cards.
Israel has been bombing the isolated coastal strip in retaliation to Hamas’ attacks, which began on October 7. Thousands have died in the escalation of the conflict, that has seen severely polarised reactions from global leaders.
The Israeli air force has dropped 6,000 bombs on Gaza since October 7, it has announced on X.
Already, the UN has announced that no aid has been able to come in from the outside of the Gaza Strip for its 2.3 million residents. There is a water crisis, no food and no electricity as Israel has blocked access to such essentials in a move that has been called “inhuman, violent and brutal” and a distinct war crime. In addition, the Human Rights Watch has reported that white phosphorus is being used by Israel on the Gaza Strip. It is used for signalling, obscuring, or to set fires but can severely burn people and set structures on fire.
The New York Times has reported that Israeli military officers conveyed the information to the leaders of the U.N. Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Department of Safety and Security in Gaza just before midnight local time on Friday, October 13.
The UN’s spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric has told reporters that such a direction would lead to “devastating humanitarian consequences.”
Guardian has quoted Dujarric as having also said, “The United Nations strongly appeals for any such order, if confirmed, to be rescinded avoiding what could transform what is already a tragedy into a calamitous situation.”
Staff of the UN have also been included in this order.
UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, noted on X that it has relocated its operations centre to the south.
🛑UNRWA relocated its central operations centre + international staff to the south to continue its humanitarian operations and support to its staff and Palestine Refugees in #Gaza
We urge the Israeli Authorities to protect all civilians in @UNRWA shelters including schools.
— UNRWA (@UNRWA) October 13, 2023
There has been speculation as to whether the Israeli army seeks to lead a ground invasion with the purpose of splitting Gaza into two. A commentator on The Economist has observed that it could be at the Deir al-Balah point.
The call to evacuate northern Gaza is almost certainly prelude to a ground invasion: As @AnshelPfeffer reported this week, Israel will probably seek to bisect Gaza around its narrowest point at Deir al-Balah. It is also a catastrophe of epic proportions. https://t.co/gR0YxDmBhY
— Gregg Carlstrom (@glcarlstrom) October 13, 2023
Haaretz has reported that the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza said that 1,537 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the war.
This is breaking news. This report will be updated as more information comes in.