The Israeli military said its troops conducted temporary raids into Gaza to battle militants and hunted for traces of some 150 people abducted in Hamas’s assault on Israel nearly a week ago.
New Delhi: Palestinians fled in a mass exodus on Friday from northern Gaza after Israel’s military told some 1 million people to evacuate to the southern part of the besieged territory ahead of an expected ground invasion in retaliation for the surprise attack by the ruling Hamas militant group. Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said any Palestinian who wants to “save their lives” must heed the order to move south as Israel prepares for an expected ground assault on the besieged coastal enclave.
The media office of Hamas, the Palestinian group that governs the besieged Gaza Strip, said 70 people, mostly women and children, were killed in the air raids on cars leaving Gaza City. It said the vehicles were targeted in three places. The Israeli military said its troops conducted temporary raids into Gaza to battle militants and hunted for traces of some 150 people abducted in Hamas’s assault on Israel nearly a week ago.
Palestinian security sources told Xinhua news agency on Friday that clashes erupted in Nablus, Tulkarm, Hebron, and other West Bank cities on the seventh day of the new round of violence between the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and Israel.
The U.N. warned that evacuating almost half of crowded Gaza’s population would be calamitous, and it urged Israel to reverse the unprecedented directive. As airstrikes hammered the territory throughout the day, families in cars, trucks and donkey carts packed with possessions streamed down a main road out of Gaza City.
Netanyahu vows to destroy Hamas, says ‘just a beginning’
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to destroy Hamas as the army prepares for an expected ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu warned that nearly a week of fierce bombardment was “just the beginning” as Israel seeks to retaliate against Hamas after their fighters killed more than 1,300 nearly a week ago.
Israeli ground forces made “localised” raids into Gaza in the last 24 hours “to cleanse the area of terrorists and weaponry” and try to find “missing persons”, the army said.
He said the Gaza offensive was still in its early stages. “We’ll never forget the atrocities that our enemies carried out, and we’ll never forgive. And we’ll never let the world, or anyone, forget these atrocities that were not done to the Jewish people in many decades. …We’re hitting our enemies with unprecedented force. I stress: It’s only the beginning,” he said.
Israeli ground raids
An Israeli military spokesman said Israeli soldiers and tanks on Friday conducted their first ground raids into Gaza since Hamas fighters carried out a devastating attack on southern Israel on Saturday, killing at least 1,300 people and injuring more than 3,000.
More than 100 people, including Israelis and foreigners, are also being held captive by Hamas.
Israeli authorities say the soldiers in the initial raids targeted Palestinian rocket crews and tried to gain information about the captives. The small-scale operations are a likely prelude to an anticipated ground invasion.
Meanwhile, the death toll from Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip and West Bank has totalled 1,843, while 6,638 others were wounded, according to the Ministry.
The Israeli fatalities since October 7 have reached 1,300, while nearly 3,400 were injured, Israeli media reported on Friday, citing official sources