Thousands of Palestinians on Saturday fled the north of the Gaza Strip from the path of an expected Israeli ground assault, while Israel pounded the area with more air strikes and said it would keep two roads open to let people escape.
Israel had given the entire population of the northern half of the Gaza Strip until Saturday morning to move south as it announced overnight that it would guarantee the safety of Palestinians fleeing the area on two main roads until 4:00 pm local time.
“We lived a night of horror. Israel punished us for not wanting to leave our home. Is there brutality worse than this?”, a father of three said by telephone from the hospital, declining to give his name for fear of reprisals.
“I was never going to leave, I prefer to die and not leave, but I can’t see my wife and children die before my eyes. We are helpless.”
The Palestinian Red Crescent said it had received an Israeli order to evacuate the hospital by 4:00 pm, but would not do so because it had a humanitarian duty to keep providing services to the sick and wounded.
In Gaza City’s Tel Al-Hawa, warplanes bombed a residential area during the night, hitting several houses, according to residents who posted appeals on social media platforms as hundreds of residents of the area took refuge at the nearby Quds hospital and planned to join those fleeing to the south in the morning.