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Israel says road to northern Gaza has not been opened as thousands of Palestinian civilians try to cross

Displaced Palestinians are taking the coastal Rashid road to return to Gaza City as they pass through Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on April 14, 2024. (Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto)

Thousands of Gazans attempted to move from southern Gaza towards Gaza City in the north on Sunday following rumors that several people had managed to cross a closed IDF checkpoint.

Rumors also spread that IDF troops were allowing women, children and men over 50 to go to northern Gaza via the checkpoint on al-Rashid road, south of Gaza City.

The Israeli military confirmed that none of the rumors were true.

“Further to the reports that IDF forces are allowing the return of residents to the north of the Gaza Strip, these are false reports,” Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

“The IDF will not allow the return of residents either through the Salah A-Din axis or through the Rashid axis [the coast]. The northern area of ​​the Gaza Strip is still a combat zone and it will not be possible to return to it.”

IDF Arabic-language spokesman, Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee, specifically warned Gazans not to go north.

“For your safety, do not approach the forces operating there. The northern Gaza Strip area is still a war zone and we will not allow a return to it,” Adraee posted on 𝕏.

Mahmoud Awdeh in Gaza City reportedly told an AFP journalist on the scene that he was waiting for his wife who had been in Khan Younis since Oct. 7, when Hamas attacked southern Israeli communities.

“She told me over the phone that people are leaving the southern part and heading to the north,” the Gaza resident said. “She told me she’s waiting at the checkpoint until the army agrees to let her head to the north.”

According to the United Nations, more than 1.5 million Palestinians are now living in the southern city of Rafah, having fled from the north.

On Saturday night, Iran attacked Israel directly for the first time, with more than 300 ballistic and cruise missiles, and approximately 170 drone launches.

Palestinians in the southern town of Rafah reportedly spoke to AFP about the Iranian missile attack, which could easily have resulted in further carnage to the Gaza Strip itself.

“The Iranian response came so late, after 190 days of war,” Khaled Al Nems reportedly said. “Their response is too little too late.”

Another Palestinian from the north currently living in Rafah, Walid Al Kurdi, reportedly told AFP that “Iran’s attack on Israel is not really our business.”

“The only thing we care about is going back to our homes,” he explained. “We are waiting for the coming 48 hours to see if (Israel) responds to Iran, or if they are playing with us and want to distract attention away from Rafah.”

In Judea and Samaria, internationally known as the West Bank, Palestinians cheered the Iranian attack on Israel.

“I think it’s great, Israel needs to leave our land,” said one uniformed Palestinian policeman in Ramallah.

IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari said that 99% of the drones and missiles were shot down by Israel.

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

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