Palestinians ordered south as Israel storms Gaza City neighbourhood


Israel stormed a neighbourhood in Gaza City, telling Palestinians that they must move south as tanks moved in, and bombed the southern city of Rafah in what it says are the final stages of an operation against Hamas there.

Residents of the Shejaia neighbourhood in Gaza City said they were taken by surprise by tanks rolling in and firing in the early afternoon, with drones also attacking after overnight bombing.

"It sounded as if the war is restarting, a series of bombings that destroyed several houses in our area and shook the buildings," Mohammad Jamal, 25, a resident of Gaza City, told Reuters via a chat app.

The Palestinian Civil Emergency Service said there were reports of people killed and wounded in Shejaia but their teams were unable to reach them because of the ongoing offensive. Three people were reported killed there in the earlier bombing, with five killed in the Sabra neighbourhood.

Israel accuses the militants of hiding among civilians and says it warns displaced people to get out of the way of its operations against the fighters.

"To all residents and displaced people in the Shujaiya area and the new neighborhoods ... For your safety, you must evacuate immediately south on Salah al-Din Street to the humanitarian zone," army spokesperson Avichay Adraee posted on X.

Residents and Hamas media said the tanks had rolled in before the post and that people from the eastern suburb were running westward under fire as Israel had blocked the road south. There was no other immediate comment from the Israeli military.

More than eight months into Israel's war on Gaza triggered by the Hamas-led cross border attack on October 7, aid officials say the enclave remains at high risk of famine, with almost half a million people facing "catastrophic" food insecurity.

"We are being starved in Gaza City, and are being hunted by tanks and planes with no hope that this war is ever ending," Jamal said.

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