TEL AVIV, Israel — Hundreds of thousands of people still stuck in northern Gaza will have just three hours to flee south today, the Israeli army announced Saturday.
The Israel Defense Forces announced that there would be a brief three-hour window (from 1 p.m. local time until 4 p.m.) to allow people stuck in northern Gaza to safely travel across the road to southern Gaza.
The United Nations estimates there could be as many as 300,000 internally displaced people still stranded in northern Gaza, including Gaza City – an area that Israeli forces have surrounded as part of their ground operation.
It has been about a week since Israeli troops entered Gaza through a ground offensive and remained in the strip. This military effort focused primarily on the north and effectively cut the Gaza Strip in two, preventing aid from entering or civilians from leaving.
This order means that civilians will most likely flee to southern Gaza, with nowhere else to go.
Gaza authorities also closed the only border crossing between Gaza and Egypt on Saturday. They said foreign passport holders will not be allowed to leave Gaza through the Rafah border crossing to Egypt unless patients from hospitals in Gaza City and northern Gaza are allowed to travel to the crossing point.
The crossing has been opened over the past three days to Palestinians of foreign nationality or to Palestinians with ties to foreign countries and foreign employers.
The list of people allowed to leave Gaza today – in what would have been the fourth day the border was open – included more Americans.
USA News Gb1