Israel urges Gazans to evacuate their homes

Palestinians take shelter in schools as leaflets warn of more strikes to come.

Israel has been dropping leaflets on the Gaza Strip, urging residents to leave their homes immediately if they want to stay safe.

The flyers, dropped on Tuesday, urged residents in northern Gaza to use specific routes when leaving their homes.

“For your own safety, you are requested to evacuate your houses right away and to move towards Gaza City through Cairo Road, Arab League Road, al-Aqsa Road, al-Qadisiya Road, Em el-Leymoun, Salaheddine, al-Mansoura, Khalas, Baghdad,” read the flyer in part.

Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston, reporting from Gaza City, said Gaza residents are living with uncertainty.

“The leaflet doesn’t mention any ground invasion. It talks about a limited deployment in parts of Gaza,” she said.

“But tens of thousands of people live in these, they’re highly populated. They’re around the border area of Gaza,” said Johnston of the seven areas listed in the flyer.

Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland, also reporting from Gaza City, said there appeared to be an “escalation” of attacks on northern Gaza on Tuesday night.

“There has been sustained heavy artillery fire coming into the northern Gaza Strip from tanks lined up along the Israeli border,” she said.

She said, however, that there had been “no major onslaught” on Gaza City, where schools have been designated as shelters for those evacuating their homes as per the instructions given in the flyers. But some of the locations are overcrowded and already turning people away.

“People are terrified by scenes that they’ve seen on television of other homes destroyed by Israeli bombs, other families which have been wiped out,” Rowland said. “People really are terrified of that fate befalling their families which is why these leaflets have really set panic through the city.”

The latest developments on the ground came as a push for an Egypt-brokered ceasefire intensified in Cairo.

Journalists killed

Israeli raids on the Gaza Strip have continued for the seventh day, with missile striking several locations, reportedly killing 20 people. 

Two cameramen from Hamas-run Al Aqsa TV were among the latest victims, a Hamas spokesman said, adding that they were killed as a strike hit a car in Gaza City clearly marked as a press vehicle.

In the last two days, Israeli raids have hit two buildings housing international and local media, including Al Aqsa TV. Defending the attacks, Regev told Al Jazeera on Monday that Israel does not consider Hamas-affiliated reporters “legitimate journalists”.  

In an Israeli air strike early on Tuesday, at least four people were injured when F-16 fighter jets hit the Islamic National Bank in Gaza City, which is located in a residential area.

At least 132 people have been killed in the coastal enclave since Wednesday and 920 have been injured.

Two Israelis were killed in attacks by fighters in Gaza on Tuesday, bringing the death toll in Israel to five since Wednesday.

A soldier was killed by a mortar in the Eshkol border region, according to the Israeli military. Later, a civilian was killed when a rocket landed in the same region.

Fourteen rockets exploded in residential areas in south of Israel, a record number for this operation,” al ِJazeera’s Tom Ackerman, reporting from Jerusalem, said.

At least 11 Israeli soldiers and 6 civilians have been injured on Tuesday.

A rocket also landed near Jerusalem, without causing any injuries. It crashed into an olive grove near Jabba village, in an attack claimed by the armed wing of Hamas, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the second such attempt to hit Jerusalem in five days.

The Israeli military has struck at least 1,450 targets in Gaza since attacks began on Wednesday, Israel says it launched the operation to deter Palestinian fighters from launching rockets into its territory.

Since then, at least 760 rockets have hit Israel while almost 400 others have been intercepted by Israel’s anti-missile system, the Iron Dome, according to the Israeli army.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies