Dozens of individuals, particularly women and children, have been killed and injured in Israeli airstrikes on evacuation convoys fleeing Gaza City, as per the Hamas administration officials. The accusations have not yet been addressed by the IDF, which had previously ordered over 1 million people to evacuate the northern part of the enclave in order to protect their lives.
The UN humanitarian body OCHA confirmed that several vehicles transporting evacuees from the north were targeted in the airstrikes, resulting in the deaths of more than 40 people and injuries to 150 others, based on information from Palestinian health officials. The UN agency noted that these incidents have led many people to abandon their evacuation efforts and return home due to the continuous and heavy bombardments from Israeli forces via air, sea, and land.
On Friday, Hamas’ media office claimed that the airstrikes had struck civilian cars in three different locations, resulting in the alleged death of 70 people. The Palestinian Health Ministry, meanwhile, reported that Al-Shifa Medical Complex was treating numerous victims who were injured as a result of the Israeli occupation forces targeting citizens who were forced to leave their homes.
The Israeli Defense Forces have not yet commented on these allegations, and it remains unclear if militants were among the passengers in the convoys.
According to the UN, tens of thousands of Palestinians have fled south after Israel issued an evacuation order on Thursday night, giving Gaza residents 24 hours to evacuate from the north in order to save their lives ahead of an anticipated ground offensive. Prior to the evacuation order, more than 400,000 Palestinians had already been internally displaced.
The IDF described the evacuation order as a humanitarian step, stating that the residents would be able to return to Gaza City once Hamas militants were eliminated. The military did not specify a deadline, with a spokesperson acknowledging that the evacuation would take some time.
The forced relocation order issued by Israel has drawn widespread criticism from human rights organizations, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urging West Jerusalem to reconsider. He emphasized that even in times of war, there are rules to be followed, and he called on all parties to respect international humanitarian norms.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also made an appeal to Israel, requesting the immediate rescission of orders to evacuate over 1 million people living north of Wadi Gaza. The WHO stated that a mass evacuation would be disastrous for patients, health workers, and other civilians left behind or caught in the mass movement, especially considering the ongoing airstrikes and closed borders. They highlighted the fact that civilians have no safe place to seek refuge.
UN Secretary-General Guterres expressed his concerns on social media, stating that relocating more than 1 million people across a densely populated war zone to an area without basic necessities like food, water, and accommodation is extremely dangerous and, in some cases, simply impossible.
The situation in Gaza remains critical, with innocent civilians trapped in the crossfire and facing severe humanitarian challenges. International bodies, including the UN and WHO, continue to call for a cessation of violence and the protection of civilians in accordance with international law.