Photo by IDF on 14 October, 2023

Hamas Preventing Palestinians From Evacuating Northern Gaza

Public By Sveta Listratov • 14 October, 2023

Jerusalem, 14 October, 2023 (TPS) -- Following an Israeli call for Palestinians to evacuate northern Gaza, Hamas has moved to prevent residents of those areas from leaving.

A young Palestinian from Shejaya neighborhood in northern Gaza told the Tazpit Press Service that Hamas operatives in civilian clothes have been passing through the alleys of northern Gaza in recent days, specifically in the area of ​​Hamas headquarters, such as Shifa Hospital, and prevented people from leaving their homes.

These operatives are telling residents that they may be harmed if they leave, and it is safer to stay in homes that can be used as shelters. But few, if any residential in the Strip have bomb shelters or adequate safe rooms.

Those Hamas activists emphasized that it is forbidden to leave the ​​Shifa and Rimal neighborhoods, where Hamas headquarters are located. The source reports that on Saturday Hamas struggled to withstand the pressure. In some places, Palestinians broke through cars that Hamas set up as road blocks, TPS was told.

Israel Defense Forces spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said in a statement on Saturday, “Hamas wants the population as a human shield. We continue to urge the residents of Gaza City, go down south, across the Gaza River. This is for your personal security; we will attack very widely and plunder in the near future.” Photos of the roadblocks and traffic were also released.

Around one million Palestinians live in the northernmost area of the Strip. About half are estimated to have fled before the roadblocks were set up.

In a televised speech, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh urged Palestinians to refuse “displacement” within the Gaza Strip or leaving the blockaded area to head to Egypt.

“No to displacement from the [West] Bank, not from Gaza and no to displacement from Gaza to Egypt,” Haniyeh said.

“Our decision is to remain in our land,” he added.

Israel called on Friday for more than one million Gazans to evacuate the northern Gaza Strip ahead of an anticipated ground offensive to destroy Hamas’s terror capabilities. Hagari told reporters that the evacuation order was meant to limit Palestinian civilian casualties.

More than 1,300 Israelis were killed in surprise Palestinian assaults on Gaza-border communities and rocket barrages. Another 3,621 have been injured.