Hamas claims Israel’s strikes on Gaza killing hostages as war expected to escalate with ground invasion

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The Israeli military informed the United Nations late Thursday night that the entire population in the northern Gaza Strip should evacuate south.

Stephane Dujarric, a U.N. spokesperson, told CBS News liaison officers with the Israeli military informed the U.N. just before midnight local time Thursday that the entire population north of the Wadi Gaza wetlands should “relocate to southern Gaza within the next 24 hours.”

According to the U.N., there are about 1.1. million people who live in northern Gaza.  

The U.N. “considers it impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences,” Dujarric said, and “strongly appeals for any such order, if confirmed, to be rescinded avoiding what could transform what is already a tragedy into a calamitous situation.”

The U.N. response “to Israel’s early warning to the residents of Gaza,” Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan said, was “shameful” and ignores the brutality of the attack on Israel.

Early Friday local time, the IDF ordered Gaza City’s hundreds of thousands of residents to move farther south in the Gaza Strip for their “own safety.”

In response, Hamas called on Palestinians to stay put in their homes, according to The Associated Press.

“This is chaos, no one understands what to do,” the AP quotes Inas Hamdan, an officer at the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency in Gaza City as saying.

According to the latest numbers from the U.N., at least 338,000 Gaza residents have been displaced since Hamas invaded southern Israel on Oct. 7, prompting retaliatory airstrikes by Israel on Gaza.   

About 300,000 Israeli soldiers have amassed outside the border of the Gaza Strip. Israel Defense Forces international spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus on Wednesday did not explicitly say Israel was preparing a ground assault of Gaza, but noted the troops, along with tanks, armored vehicles and other artillery, were “making preparations for the next stage of the war which will come when the timing is opportune and fit for our purposes.” 

— Jordan Freiman contributed to this report.  



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