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Israel wants Gaza City to be vacated within 24 hours: UN

More than one million residents of Gaza City Friday were warned by the Israeli military to evacuate and move to the south in the next 24 hours, as it deployed its tanks near the Gaza Strip amid fears of a major ground offensive.

As the Israeli warplanes continued attacking Gaza, its Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said: “Now is a time for war.” The military has warned about “significantly” operating in Gaza City in the coming days, insisting that the residents will only be able to return when a relevant announcement is made.

Earlier, the United Nations had told Reuters about the Israeli military’s warning, which, as feared by Palestinians, could result in Israel’s planned ground offensive.

No comments were immediately issued by the Israeli military regarding the warning. However, it had amassed tanks near the Gaza border and struck the Palestinian enclave with air strikes in the wake of Hamas’s fight to free Gaza from Israel’s decades-long occupation.

“The United Nations considers it impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences,” Stephane Dujarric, a UN spokesperson, said in a statement. She added that the UN strongly appeals for any such order, if confirmed, to be rescinded avoiding what could transform what is already a tragedy into a calamitous situation.

Dujarric said the order by the Israeli military also applied to all UN staff and those sheltered in UN facilities, including schools, health centres and clinics.

Source: Reuters

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