Fleeing Gaza City residents waved white flags as they marched south Tuesday along a “dangerous’’ evacuation route during the four-hour window Israel gave before its ground forces were set to storm the area.
The Israel Defense Forces posted footage of scores of Palestinians walking from the Gaza Strip’s largest city to supposed safe zones to the south between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. local time.
The video captured the residents passing Israeli tanks that recently encircled the area ahead of the Jewish state’s expected ground invasion of the densely populated region to try to destroy the terror group Hamas.
Hamas, which says 900,000 Palestinians are still sheltering in northern Gaza, accused the IDF of forcing the evacuees to wave flags to humiliate them, although there was no evidence of the claim.
Gaza City resident Adam Fayez Zeyara posted an online selfie of himself along the route, calling the journey “The most dangerous trip in my life.
“We saw the tanks from point-blank. We saw decomposed body parts. We saw death,” the shaken resident said.
Hamas-linked Gaza health officials said Monday that more than 10,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel’s relentless airstrikes in the month after terrorists invaded Israel and slaughtered more than 1,400 people and abducted about 250 others. The Palestinian terrorists did not differentiate between civilians and soldiers in their carnage.
Israel said its troops have been attacked by Hamas fighters “popping out” from tunnels in Gaza City to fire rocket-propelled grenades at them.
“So we’re really putting an effort into taking out these tunnels as we move in and close in on Gaza City,” Israeli Lt. Col. Richard Hecht told reporters.
As Israel implored Palestinian residents to flee their homes and head south, two Israeli airstrikes in the southern cities of Khan Younis and Rafah killed 23 people on Tuesday, according to the health ministry controlled by Hamas.
Rescuers in Khan Younis tried to pull a girl buried up to her waist in debris from the rubble of a house that was bombed, killing 11 people.
“We are civilians,” said resident Ahmed Ayesh, who was rescued.
“This is the bravery of the so-called Israel, they show their might and power against civilians, babies inside, kids inside, and elderly,” the man raged.
In some of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s most direct comments about the end game of his country’s war on Hamas, the PM told ABC News that Israel would secure Gaza for an “indefinite” amount of time after it removes Hamas from power.
Netanyahu on Monday rejected a proposal from his top ally, President Biden, to pause fighting to allow more aid into the densely populated region, which is reeling from depleted supplies of food, medicine, fuel and water, unless there is some kind of quid pro quo from Hamas.
Israel’s critics have been demanding such “humanitarian pauses.”
“It has been one full month of carnage, of incessant suffering, bloodshed, destruction, outrage, and despair,” said UN Human Rights Commissioner Volcker Turk in a statement Tuesday as he traveled to the region to observe the Rafah crossing from Egypt, which is the only route for humanitarian aid for the blockaded besieged territory.
While hundreds of Palestinians with foreign passports have been permitted to escape since last week, just about all of the 2.3 million Gaza residents have been trapped in the narrow strip.
“It’s just a horror movie that keeps putting on repeat,” said Suzan Beseiso, 31, a Palestinian American who was able to leave Gaza for Egypt last week, from Cairo.
“No sleep. No food. No water. You keep evacuating from one place to another.”
Both sides have dismissed calls for a cease-fire, with Israel demanding that hostages be released first and Gaza saying it would not free them until the bombardment ends.
Israeli Avihai Brodutch’s wife and three children remained in Hamas captivity one month after they were abducted from the Kfar Aza kibbutz two miles from Gaza.
“My kids, they’re so young, and they’ve done nothing wrong to anybody,” he said of his 10-year-old daughter Ofri and sons Yuval, 8, and Uriah, 4.
With Post wires