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Israel extends evacuation orders to Gaza

2023-12-03 11:55:19, Kosova & Bota CNA

Israel extends evacuation orders to Gaza

The Israeli military on Sunday ordered more areas around Gaza's second-largest city, Han Yunis, to be evacuated as it continues its ground and air offensive.

According to the army, leaders of Hamas - the Palestinian group declared a terrorist by the United States and the European Union - are hiding in the second half of southern Gaza.

Hamas has ruled Gaza since 2007.

In the areas around Han Yunis and Rafah, intensive bombing has been reported in the last few hours.

Most of Gaza's 2.3 million residents are taking refuge in the south, after Israel has asked them to leave the northern area since the first days of the two-month-old war.

With the return of the fighting, hopes for the continuation of a temporary ceasefire have been extinguished.

A week-long pause in the fighting, which expired on Friday, has allowed the release of many hostages taken by Hamas in Israel, as well as the release of many Palestinians from Israeli prisons.

"We will continue the war until we achieve our goals, and it is impossible to achieve our goals without a ground operation," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

On Sunday, the Israeli army asked residents in and around Han Yunis to relocate for their own safety.

Residents have said that the Israeli army dropped letters from the air with the message: Han Yunis is a dangerous fighting zone.

United Nations monitors have said that these areas, which residents have been told to leave, make up about a quarter of Gaza's territory.

According to them, about 800,000 people lived in those areas before the war.

Before the fighting resumed, the United States, Israel's closest ally, warned the country to avoid mass displacement.

Authorities in Gaza have said that since the day the war began, on October 7, over 15,200 people have been killed as a result of Israeli attacks.

Israel repeatedly says it targets Hamas militants and blames them for killing civilians, saying they are hiding in residential neighborhoods.

Israel has said that at least 78 of its soldiers have been killed since the start of the offensive in Gaza.

The war was sparked after Hamas attacks on Israeli soil on October 7, killing around 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

About 240 other people have been taken hostage.

The resumption of fighting has raised concerns about the 137 hostages still in Hamas' hands.

Most of them are believed to be women and children./ REL

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