“Your window to act is closing. For your own safety, move south.”
The Israeli military again on Sunday issued an urgent call to Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip to evacuate southward temporarily, away from the epicenter of the war against Hamas.
“Relocating southward is for their personal safety,” chief spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said Sunday.
“We are today emphasizing that this is an urgent call,” he said in a televised briefing. He also reported that the number of people confirmed held hostage in Gaza since Hamas’ October 7 cross-border onslaught in southern Israel was now 239.
The Israeli Defense Forces on Saturday urgently warned people in northern Gaza to “relocate south immediately.” The IDF delivered the warning via social media in several languages, telling people in Gaza: “Your window to act is closing. For your own safety, move south.”
The warning came amid increased military action in response to the October 7 terrorist incursion by Hamas against Israel.
The Israel military intensified its ground operation and its military strikes against Hamas in Gaza on Sunday. Hamas also reported heavy fighting in northwest Gaza.
Israel published pictures of its tanks on the Palestinian enclave’s western coast 48 hours after ordering expanded ground incursions across its eastern border.
Israel also reported that its ground forces killed a number of Hamas terrorists as they exited a tunnel near the Erez crossing, the sole pedestrian passageway from Gaza into Israel before it was destroyed in the recent fighting.
Hamas has a sprawling network of tunnels underneath Gaza where it is known to stockpiling weapons, food, and other supplies.
The Israel Defense Forces said early Sunday that its fighter jets struck 450 Hamas targets in Gaza over the past 24 hours.
“Hamas terrorists operate inside and under civilian buildings, precisely because they know the IDF distinguishes between terrorists and civilians,” IDF spokesman Hagari said in a video posted early Sunday to X, formerly Twitter.
The text of the IDF’s initial warning in English is as follows.
“Attention citizens of Gaza. Listen carefully. This is an urgent military advisory from the Israel Defense Forces. For your immediate safety, we urge all residents of Northern Gaza and Gaza City to temporarily relocate south. Let me repeat, we urge all residents of Northern Gaza and Gaza City to relocate south immediately.
“This is a temporary measure. Moving back to Northern Gaza will be possible once the intense hostilities end. Hamas puts your life in danger by placing weapons and forces within civilians area in Gaza, including schools, mosques, and hospitals. The impending IDF operation is meant to neutralize these threats of Hamas with precision and intensity.
“Humanity remains haunted by the massacre unleashed by Hamas on October 7, a massacre of innocent lives. Israeli men, women, children and babies were beheaded, executed, raped and burned alive. We won’t forget that. And the kidnapping of over 200 Israelis we will not forget.
“To the residents of Northern Gaza and Gaza City, your window to act is closing. Move south. For your own safety move south. This is not a mere precaution. It is an urgent plea for the safety of the civilians in Gaza.”
Israeli ground troops expanded their efforts inside Gaza to dismantle the Hamas terrorist infrastructure, Israel Defense Forces spokesman Daniel Hagari said Friday.
“In the last few hours, we have severely increased our attacks in Gaza,” he said during an evening briefing.
Huge explosions were reported inside the territory early Saturday morning local time, with Israeli warplanes carrying out heavy strikes
The IDF has been threatening a full ground invasion for more than two weeks, but a full incursion has yet to occur. On Thursday, the IDF sent troops inside Gaza to strike Hamas targets – both on the ground and via the sea. The troops entered and exited the strip in the same evening. There were no injuries.