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Israel orders evacuation of Gaza City as a sign Hamas is regrouping

Israel ordered all Palestinian civilians to evacuate from Gaza City, showing that Hamas has regrouped in the early target of the war in Gaza. Gaza City serves as the heart of Gaza, with 750,000 Palestinians residing there at the beginning of the war. This number is now around 250,000, according to the BBC. A previous […]

Israel ordered all Palestinian civilians to evacuate from Gaza City, showing that Hamas has regrouped in the early target of the war in Gaza.

Gaza City serves as the heart of Gaza, with 750,000 Palestinians residing there at the beginning of the war. This number is now around 250,000, according to the BBC. A previous evacuation occurred early in the war, as the city was the opening target of the Israel Defense Forces’s first offensive into Gaza in October. After largely clearing the city of Hamas fighters, the IDF withdrew. Using its extensive tunnel network, Hamas regrouped and reoccupied the area, despite much of it being destroyed.

Israeli soldiers move on the top of a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, as seen from southern Israel, Monday, July 8, 2024. Israeli forces advanced deeper into the Gaza Strip’s largest city in pursuit of militants who had regrouped there, sending thousands of Palestinians fleeing on Monday from an area ravaged in the early weeks of the nine-month-long war. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

The IDF now seems poised to invade the city again — on Tuesday, it dropped leaflets by aircraft instructing “everyone in Gaza City” to leave, describing it as a “dangerous combat zone.” Civilians were asked to leave via two designated safe routes.


The IDF has already begun conducting clearing operations on Gaza City’s outskirts, according to the Institute for the Study of War. Operations began over the past two weeks. Previously, the southern enclave of Rafah had been the primary target, where most of the population has taken refuge.

Though previous evacuations have sent Gazans scrambling across the tiny enclave, the latest evacuation notice may prove more difficult. Many residents didn’t take the notice to evacuate well. 

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“I will not leave Gaza. I will not make the stupid mistake that others have made. Israeli missiles do not differentiate between north and south,” Gaza resident Ibrahim al-Barbari, 47, told the BBC. “If death is my fate and the fate of my children, we will die with honour and dignity in our homes.” 

A video published on social media showed two Gazan men mocking the evacuation leaflet before ripping it up and vowing not to leave.

“Where are we to go? After 300 days of torture they want us to go to the south? We would rather die than surrender a house,” one of the residents said.

Arab leaders have already expressed outrage over the new evacuation order. Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said in a joint news conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry that the order is a “red line” for Jordan and Egypt.

The United Nations expressed deep concern about the new evacuation.

The new move may further complicate ceasefire negotiations, which saw a recent breakthrough after Hamas dropped the demand that Israel commit to a complete end to the war.

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Despite Hamas’s ability to regroup and retake the initial target of the IDF’s offensive, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told the Knesset that more than 60% of Hamas’s fighting force had been killed.

“The action of the IDF that has so far led to the elimination of over 14,000 terrorists and the collapse of the military frameworks of Hamas is, in fact, the testimony of what I am saying — everything will be done in accordance with the law and in accordance with the operational need,” he declared.

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