Israel asks Gazans to vacate city; mediators meet in Doha : The Tribune India

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Israel asks Gazans to vacate city; mediators meet in Doha

Israel asks Gazans to vacate city; mediators meet in Doha

Palestinians walk past houses destroyed in an Israeli military offensive in Khan Younis, Gaza, on Wednesday. REUTERS



Deir al-Balah, July 10

The Israeli military urged all Palestinians to leave Gaza City and head south on Wednesday, pressing ahead with a fresh offensive across the north, south and centre of the embattled territory that has killed dozens of people over the past 48 hours.

The stepped up military activity came as US, Egyptian and Qatari mediators were meeting with Israeli officials in the Qatari capital, Doha, for talks trying to push through a long-elusive cease-fire deal with Gaza’s Hamas militant group.

Israel says it is pursuing Hamas fighters regrouping in various parts of Gaza nine months into the military’s devastating offensive. But heavy strikes in recent days along the length of the territory also could be aimed at hiking up pressure on Hamas in the cease-fire efforts.

Israel ordered residents of northern Gaza, including Gaza City, to flee south months ago as it operated in the area. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have remained in the hard-hit north, and many Palestinians say they have nowhere to go.

Most of Gaza’s 2.3 million people are crammed into squalid tent camps in central and southern Gaza.

Israel informed people in Gaza of the evacuation order by dropping leaflets urging “all those in Gaza City” to take two “safe routes” south to the area around the central town of Deir al-Balah. Gaza City, it said, will “remain a dangerous combat zone.”

In the second straight night of deadly strikes in central Gaza, Israeli bombardment on early Wednesday hit four houses in the town of Deir al-Balah and the nearby Nuseirat refugee camp, killing 20 Palestinians. Among the dead were six children and three women, said authorities at al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, where the casualties were taken.

An Associated Press reporter counted the bodies. The house hit in Deir al-Balah was located inside the “humanitarian safe zone” where Israel has told Palestinians to flee for refuge.

Israel’s onslaught was triggered by Hamas’ cross-border raid on October 7, during which militants killed 1,200 people in southern Israel, most of them civilians. The militants took roughly 250 people hostage. About 120 are still in captivity, with about a third said to be dead. — AP

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