Desperate civilians in Gaza are fleeing or huddling together in hopes of safety as warnings of an Israeli offensive increase. Israel has intensified warnings of an imminent offensive by air, ground, and sea following Hamas militants’ deadly rampage in Israel a week ago. The UN and aid groups say that a rapid exodus along with Israel’s siege of the territory would cause untold human suffering.
Gaza’s desperate civilians are fleeing or huddling in hopes of safety as warnings of an Israeli offensive mount. Following Hamas militants’ deadly rampage in Israel a week ago, Israel has intensified warnings of an imminent offensive by air, ground, and sea. Desperate Palestinians are scrambling to escape from northern Gaza or huddling by the thousands at a hospital in the target zone, hoping it will be spared. Israel has dropped leaflets from the air and issued warnings on social media for more than 1 million Gaza residents to move south. The military claims it is trying to clear away civilians ahead of a concentrated campaign against Hamas militants in the north. However, the UN and aid groups warn that such a rapid exodus, along with Israel’s siege of the territory, would cause unimaginable human suffering. The World Health Organization has stated that the evacuation “could be tantamount to a death sentence” for over 2,000 patients in northern hospitals, including newborns in incubators and people in intensive care. Gaza’s humanitarian crisis is already mounting, with a growing shortage of water and medical supplies under a week-old Israeli blockade. Electrical plants have been forced to shut down without fuel. The situation is dire, with basic necessities such as food, fuel, and drinking water running out. Water has stopped coming out of taps across the territory, and the only available tap water is contaminated with Mediterranean Sea water due to the lack of sanitation facilities. The situation at Al-Shifa hospital is also dire, with the hospital receiving hundreds of wounded every hour and using up 95% of its medical supplies. The UN refugee agency for Palestinians is expressing concern for those who cannot leave, particularly pregnant women, children, older persons, and persons with disabilities, and is calling for Israel to not target civilians, hospitals, schools, clinics, and UN locations. The Gaza Health Ministry has reported that over 2,200 people have been killed in the territory, including 724 children and 458 women..