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Hamas and Israel at war: what we know on day seven

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Israel’s military has told 1.1 million residents of northern Gaza to relocate farther south within 24 hours, the UN said, warning that it was “impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences”. Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN secretary-general, said that UN officials had been told “that the entire population of Gaza north of Wadi Gaza should relocate to southern Gaza within the next 24 hours”.

The order sent panic through civilians and aid workers already struggling under Israeli airstrikes and a blockade. The UN said it was told by the Israeli military that about 1.1 million Palestinians in northern Gaza should relocate to the enclave’s south within the next 24 hours.

Israel’s military, the IDF, called for all civilians in Gaza City to evacuate from their homes southwards because it “will operate significantly in Gaza City in the coming days”. It said residents, “will only be able to return to Gaza City when another announcement permitting”.

Hamas urged people to stay put and defy the order to evacuate their homes. Eyad al-Bozom, spokesperson for the Hamas interior ministry, said “We tell the people of northern Gaza and from Gaza City, stay put in your homes, and your places. By carrying out massacres against the civilians, the occupation wants to displace us once again from our land. The 1948 displacement will not happen. We will die and we will not leave.”

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, said the UN’s response was “shameful” and that it should focus on condemning Hamas and supporting Israel’s right to self-defence.

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “eradicate” Hamas and said Israel’s counteroffensive in Gaza “is just the beginning”. Netanyahu, in televised remarks on Friday, said Israel was striking at its enemies “with unprecedented might”. “Our enemies have only started paying the price,” he said.

Palestinians carrying their belongings attempt to flee to safer areas in Gaza City after Israeli air strikes and the Israeli military order to evacuate.
Palestinians carrying their belongings attempt to flee to safer areas in Gaza City after Israeli air strikes and the Israeli military order to evacuate.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said asking vulnerable patients to evacuate hospitals in Gaza amounted to a “death sentence”, and the director-general of the agency called upon Israel to reverse its decision to order an evacuation. “There are severely ill people whose injuries mean their only chances of survival is being on life support, such as mechanical ventilators,” Reuters reports WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said. “So moving those people is a death sentence. Asking health workers to do so is beyond cruel”. The WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said that hospitals in Gaza are at “breaking point”.

The UN’s secretary general, António Guterres, said the Israeli military’s evacuation order is “extremely dangerous – and in some cases, simply not possible”. Amnesty International said Israel’s evacuation order “cannot be considered an effective warning” and called for it to be rescinded immediately.

Israeli troops carried out local raids over the past day in the Gaza Strip, searching for hostages and collecting evidence to find people taken by Hamas, the Israel Defence Forces said on Friday.

Israeli airstrikes on convoys fleeing Gaza City killed 70 people, mostly women and children, the press office of Hamas said. Hamas said the cars were struck in three places as they headed south from Gaza City on Friday.

Hamas has claimed to have launched 150 rockets towards the city of Ashkelon in Israel “in response to the displacement and targeting of civilians”.

Palestinian citizens inspect damage to their homes caused by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City.

Palestinian citizens inspect damage to their homes caused by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City.

Hamas’s armed wing, Al Qassam Brigades, said in a statement that 13 captives were killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza in the last 24 hours. The statement said six of the hostages were killed in strikes on two separate locations in the northern district and seven more died in strikes that hit three locations in the Gaza district.

It remains unclear exactly how many Israeli hostages Hamas took when it carried out its incursion into Israel’s territory on Saturday. The most recent official death toll from Israel stands at 1,300. Israel’s military spokesperson has said the government has been able to confirm the identities of 97 people taken hostage into Gaza during the attack by Hamas, but more than 100 are believed to have been taken.

The UN humanitarian office (OCHA) said early on Friday that more than 400,000 people had already fled their homes in the Gaza Strip. It said 23 aid workers had been killed since the start of Israeli retaliatory strikes in response to the Hamas attack on Saturday.

At least 1,900 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza from Israeli strikes, including 614 children and 370 women, according to Gaza’s health ministry on Friday. At least 16 Palestinians were shot and killed in the West Bank over the course of the day, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Israel began the process of burying the victims of the weekend’s attacks by Hamas. The majority of the dead were killed in a single day, when Hamas fighters broke through the border and attacked Israeli civilians. 222 of those who have been killed since the attacks began on Saturday are soldiers, the military said.

An Israeli soldier steps over personal belongings near a home in in kibbutz Beeri following the attack by Hamas gunmen.

An Israeli soldier steps over personal belongings near a home in in kibbutz Beeri following the attack by Hamas gunmen.

A journalist was killed and six others injured after an Israeli shell landed in a gathering of international journalists covering clashes on the border in south Lebanon on Friday. Reuters confirmed that its videographer Issam Abdallah was killed. Meanwhile, the BBC said its journalists were assaulted and held at gunpoint after they were stopped by Israeli police in Tel Aviv.

Grant Shapps, UK defence secretary, said the UK supported the decision of the IDF to give advance notice that it is intended to mount an attack. Pressed to say whether the UK government supported the specific order giving more than 1 million people in Gaza 24 hours to leave their homes, Shaps said: “The UK government supports both the right of Israel to defend itself in this way, and that Israel is providing advance warning of military action so people can move themselves out of the way. It’s absolutely right that happens.”

Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned that if Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip don’t stop immediately, the violence could spread to other parts of the Middle East. Visiting Beirut he said: “America cannot send weapons and bombs to kill women, children and civilians in Gaza and at the same time call on all sides for self-restraint.”

Jordan’s King Abdullah II has met US secretary of state Antony Blinken. In a message posted to social media, the king warned against “any attempt to forcibly displace Palestinians from all Palestinian Territories or cause their internal displacement,” and called for the prevention of a “spillover” of the crisis into neighbouring countries.

European parliament president Roberta Metsola and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen have landed in Israel. The Italian foreign minister, Antonio Tajani, has also confirmed that he has arrived in Israel. US secretary of defence, Lloyd Austin, has also arrived in the country for high level meetings.

The UK’s finance minister, chancellor of the exchequer Jeremy Hunt, has said the UK will do “everything we can” to support Israel in its fight against Hamas, saying “This is the most appalling, brutal, murderous terrorism that I think I can remember seeing in my adult lifetime. It is absolutely gruelling looking at those pictures. And I think we have to make sure as a world that we are absolutely united in our condemnation of what has happened.”

Human Rights Watch said it had concluded Israel used white phosphorus in military operations over the Gaza City port and two rural locations along the Israel-Lebanon border this week. Israel’s use of white phosphorus in crowded civilian areas “poses a high risk of excruciating burns and lifelong suffering” , the organisation warned.
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