IDF Orders 1 Million Civilians to Evacuate Northern Gaza as Wider Offensive Looms

JERUSALEM, Israel – Israel has told more than 1 million Palestinian civilians to evacuate northern Gaza in the next 24 hours, a warning that signals a wider offensive is imminent as the country works to defeat an enemy that committed the worst atrocity against the Jewish people since the Holocaust.

Israel Tells Gazans to Evacuate 

“Civilians of Gaza City, evacuate south for your own safety and the safety of your families and distance yourself from Hamas terrorists who are using you as human shields,” the IDF said. “Hamas terrorists are hiding in Gaza City inside tunnels underneath houses and inside buildings populated with innocent Gazan civilians.”

However, Hamas told civilians to ignore Israel’s warnings and stay home and continued to fire rockets into southern Israel: “Do not follow the propaganda evacuation instructions.” 

The UN said early Friday it was impossible to move that many people “without devastating humanitarian consequences” and asked Israel to rescind the evacuation order. 

Still, Israeli leaders see the move as proof that the IDF is working to avoid civilian casualties as it carries out its heaviest air strikes on Gaza ever. 

“We are not seeing the residents of Gaza Strip as our enemies,” said Ambassador Gilad Cohen, Israel’s Ambassador to Japan. “Hamas is our enemy. Hamas is our enemy and will pay the price of what it did to us. People are saying, ‘Israel is revenging,’ no, no, no, it’s not revenge. How can you revenge one-year-old baby, that they shot him in the head? What is the revenge for it? There is no revenge for it. This is just a war. An operational strategy of Israel to eliminate Hamas of its power.”

Israel’s Emergency Government Sworn In

Thursday night, Israel’s new emergency government was sworn in.

“Since October 7, 2023 at six o’clock in the morning, because of the war that was forced on the State of Israel through a murderous terrorist attack from the Gaza Strip and after that I was convinced that the authority is required because of the security of the State,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The new government includes former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and several members of the opposition parties.

Hamas Denies It Targets Civilians

While the world continues to recoil in horror at the murders Hamas carried out, the terror group is claiming they did not target civilians.

“We here would like to stress that there were clear instructions from the top commander of al-Qassam Brigades to avoid targeting civilians or killing them,” said Hamas official Basem Naim.

READ: Hamas Founder Issues ‘Global Call to Jihad’ for Friday, Intercessors Mobilize to Do Warfare in Prayer

Yonah Bob, military correspondent for The Jerusalem Post and co-author of Target Tehran, witnessed the carnage in the Be’eri Kibbutz. 

“People are saying Hamas is ISIS and that’s what happened because when you have women, children, babies, elderly being slaughtered, heads being cut off, blood everywhere,” he told CBN News. “You know the pictures, the video that have come out. What they did to these communities was just horrific, monstrous. We could just go on with the adjectives, and that has what turned the world. I don’t say the world was for Hamas before, but the world is behind Israel on a level that it hasn’t been in a very long time because of the utter barbarity that they saw from Hamas in this case in Be’eri which I just saw and in another 21 communities.”

Hamas Warns Iran and Hezbollah Could Join the War

Israel is also building up its presence along the Northern border in case more fighting breaks out with Hezbollah. 

On Friday, Iran’s foreign minister met with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and other Lebanese leaders in Beirut. He warned that the war could spread to other parts of the Middle East if Israel does not stop its air strikes in Gaza. 

Senior Hamas official Ali Barakeh also told The Associated Press this week in Beirut that allies like Iran and Hezbollah “will join the battle if Gaza is subjected to a war of annihilation.”

US and Qatar Agree to Block Iran from Tapping $6 Billion 

Today’s actions come after the US and Qatar reached an agreement that Qatar will not act on any request from Iran to access the 6 billion dollars in Iranian funds that were unblocked as part of a prisoner swap last month.

Meanwhile, Jews around the world were urged to be cautious after a former Hamas chief called for a “Day of Jihad” by Muslims for Friday, Oct. 13.

But for now, the focus is on Gaza and Israel’s apparently imminent ground invasion.

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