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200,000 Israelis have left their homes since start of war with Hamas

Half were evacuated, the other half left voluntarily

Residents of the northern Israeli town of Kiryat SHmona are being evacuated due to the threat from Lebanon, Oct. 22, 2023. (Photo: David Cohen/Flash90)

Roughly 200,000 Israeli citizens have left their homes as a result of ‘Operation Iron Swords,’ the war against Hamas which began when Hamas terrorists attacked Israel at the border near Gaza on Oct. 7.

The statistics, released by Israeli authorities, include communities along the Gaza border, as well as the northern border with Lebanon, which were emptied of their residents in anticipation of continued clashes with the Hezbollah terror organization based there.

About half of the 200,000 residents received instructions from the government to leave their homes in 105 communities near the Gaza and Lebanon borders, the Prime Minister’s Office stated on Sunday.

The evacuation of the immediate Gaza border area began shortly after the brutal assault on Oct. 7 by Hamas and was then expanded to communities up to 4 km (about 2.5 miles) from the Gaza Strip, including the city of Sderot with its around 30,000 residents.

As the northern border with Lebanon began heating up after increased attacks by the terror organization Hezbollah, Israel began to order the evacuation of communities up to 2 km (a little over a mile) from the border and prepared plans for the evacuating communities up to 5 km (about 3 miles) away.

The city of Kiryat Shmona and its around 20,000 residents were ordered to evacuate on Friday morning.

Altogether, 25 communities near the Gaza Strip and 28 communities in the north were evacuated.

The Defense Ministry and its National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) stated it was currently providing services to about 120,000 displaced Israelis.

According to the statement, there are two categories of displaced people: Those who have been fully evacuated from their homes and those who are eligible “to rest and refresh themselves” at state-subsidized guesthouses for a certain period of time.

The other half of the 200,000 Israelis left their homes near the borders voluntarily, without being explicitly ordered to do so.

Israeli society has responded with an outpouring of care and love for their displaced neighbors, with numerous organizations and private citizens providing necessities, such as accommodations and food, in addition to programs and activities, counseling and other needs for the children and adults.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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