Thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are fleeing their homes following a directive from the Israeli military to relocate southward, anticipating an imminent ground assault. The call to move, particularly targeting civilians in the northern half of the besieged enclave, has raised concerns as the United Nations deems the order to relocate 1.1 million people within 24 hours as "impossible" and potentially devastating.
This relocation directive, issued on the seventh day of the conflict and a declared "total blockade" by Israel in response to a significant Hamas incursion and lethal attack, instructs residents of Gaza City to head deeper south into the narrow coastal territory, home to approximately 2.3 million people.
Residents in the suggested safe zones reported overnight airstrikes, dispelling the notion of complete safety. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society stated, "No place is safe in the entire Gaza Strip," emphasizing the perilous situation faced by civilians.
As the conflict intensifies, Palestinian authorities report a grim toll, with at least 1,799 people killed and over 6,000 wounded in Gaza since the commencement of Israel's relentless bombardment on Saturday. The UN humanitarian office (OCHA) reported that more than 400,000 people have already been displaced in Gaza, and tragically, 23 aid workers have lost their lives. The OCHA grimly notes, "Mass displacement continues," underscoring the escalating humanitarian crisis in the region.