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Israeli military extends evacuation order to whole of Gaza City

By Kareem Khadder and Ibrahim Dahman, CNN

CNN  — 

The Israeli military has expanded its evacuation order to the whole of Gaza City after sending tens of thousands of Palestinians fleeing from several of the city’s neighborhoods earlier this week.

It has also issued a notice saying it will be suspending inspections along two roads in Gaza City to allow civilians to reach humanitarian zones more easily and quickly as the city “will remain a dangerous combat zone.”

“We announce to you that Tariq Bin Ziyad and Omar Al-Mukhtar Streets are considered safe passages to cross west to Al-Rashid (Al-Bahr) Street and from there south. Al-Wahda and Khalil Al-Wazir streets are considered safe passages to cross east to the Al-Zaytoun neighborhood and the city roundabout, and from there to Salah Al-Din Street to the south,” an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) flier dropped on the city says.

A Palestinian boy walks in front of a school used as a shelter by displaced people in Deir el-Balah in the central Gaza Strip on July 7.

Gaza City experienced shelling overnight. A local journalist told CNN the building he was sheltering in had been struck, forcing him to move with his family once more.

Gaza’s Civil Defense spokesman Mahmoud Bassal told CNN he was aware of dozens of deaths in the industrial zone, east of Gaza City, and the financial hub in the center.

Bassal added that several Palestinians are besieged in the Jordanian hospital and at Al-Aqsa University in the city, as the situation remains dangerous.

“Today, suddenly, all bakeries in Gaza are completely closed. It seems that there are instructions for them to do so, or that they fall in the red zone,” he added.

A Palestinian woman watches as smoke billows following an Israeli strike south of Gaza City, in the town of al-Zawaida in the central Gaza Strip, on June 11, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned the directive for residents to leave Gaza City threatened to intensify the plight of already displaced communities.

The IDF has been issuing evacuation orders affecting large parts of Gaza City since Sunday, urging 250,000 residents to head to “safe zones” further south, in Deir al-Balah and al-Zawaida.

The IDF has said that evacuation orders are necessary so that civilians don’t get caught up in its renewed operations in areas where Hamas is seeking to re-establish a presence. The IDF insists it goes to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties.

Hamas has said the evacuations threaten to return negotiations for a ceasefire and hostage deal to “point zero.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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