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‘Dangerous combat zone’ - IDF issues evacuation orders in Gaza City as it seeks to destroy Hamas buildup there

IDF engineers fill tunnel to Egypt with concrete, blocking smuggling route

Palestinians, who fled the eastern part of Gaza City after they were ordered by Israeli army to evacuate their neighborhoods, carry their belongings, amid Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 7, 2024. (Photo: REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas)

Israel Defense Forces began dropping leaflets in Arabic on Wednesday morning, warning the residents of Gaza City to flee south and west via safe corridors away from increased fighting in the city.

The instructions in Arabic, distributed by the IDF to Gaza City residents stated: "Safe passages allow you quick and unchecked passage from Gaza City to shelters in Deir al-Balah and al-Zawaydah. Omar al-Mukhtar Street and Tareq bin Ziada Street are considered safe corridors to cross west to al-Rashid Street and then south. Al-Wahda Street and Khalil al-Wazir Street are considered safe corridors for passage east to the al-Zeitun neighborhood and the city square, and from there to Salah a-Din in the south. Gaza City will be a dangerous combat zone.” 

Israeli military correspondent, Nir Dvory, said the evacuation order came after the IDF found evidence of Hamas operatives attempting to re-establish governance and conduct force-building activities in the area. 

The IDF's 99th Division continues its fighting around Gaza City. Overnight, soldiers conducted a counter-terrorism operation against Hamas and Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorists who were operating inside UNRWA headquarters in the area, using the United Nations agency base to launch attacks on IDF troops in central Gaza.

After a defined corridor was opened to facilitate the evacuation of civilians from the area, IDF troops conducted a targeted raid on the structure, eliminated terrorists in close-quarters combat and located a large amount of weapons in the area. 

IDF troops also eliminated dozens of terrorists in the area of Shejaiya and dismantled underground tunnel routes over the past 24 hours, the IDF Spokesman’s Office said. 

During the operations, the soldiers identified 10 terrorists observing the troops from a nearby structure. In a combined aerial and ground strike, Israeli forces struck and hit the structure where the terrorists were operating, killing them.

On Tuesday night, an Israeli Air Force (IAF) fighter jet struck a Palestinian terrorist hiding in a school in the Khan Younis area using precision munitions. The terrorist reportedly participated in the Oct. 7 massacre in Israel.

The IDF announced it is investigating the possibility of civilian casualties after Palestinian sources reported that 20 people died in the strike. According to some reports, a group of Gazans who had evacuated their homes because of the war was hit in the airstrike. 

IDF troops continue their targeted, intelligence-based operations in Rafah. During the past day, Israeli forces eliminated a number of terrorists, located weapons, and dismantled terrorist infrastructure in the area. 

For the first time since gaining control over the Rafah crossing and the Philadelphi Corridor, IDF engineering troops sealed a tunnel that crossed between Gaza and Egypt using pressurized concrete, according to Israeli news site Mako. 

The IDF estimates that there are dozens more tunnels crossing between Gaza and Egypt, and it could take another six months to uncover and destroy them all.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office announced the death of Sgt. First Class Tal Lahat, 21, of the Maglan commando unit.

Lahat was killed on Tuesday afternoon in a sniper attack in Gaza City during the raid on the UNRWA headquarters. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

His death brings the number of soldiers killed during the ground campaign to 327. 

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

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