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Palestinians receive confusing, conflicting evacuation orders from IDF

The Israel Defense Forces are moving south and telling civilians to clear out of places it earlier told them were safe.
Palestinians receive confusing, conflicting evacuation orders from IDF
Posted at 8:58 PM, Dec 04, 2023

On Monday, the IDF released a map in Arabic telling residents of one of southern Gaza's largest cities, Khan Yunis, to flee further south toward the Egyptian border. They based the map off of another one they released previously, breaking Gaza into small sections so people can be warned about military operations more accurately. 

But there's evidence that the IDF had already been conducting strikes in the area from which they were advising Palestinians to flee. Visuals from recent Planet satellite imagery show there were multiple airstrikes near Khan Yunis leading up to the evacuation order. 

One area called "Hamad City" was bombed on Dec. 2. Videos of the bombing were caught on camera from the ground, and the damage can be seen in satellite imagery. 

According to the UN, over 80% of Gaza's population has been displaced since the start of the war. The area in which Israel has called for evacuations has at least six displaced-people camps visible in satellite imagery. 

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Two of the largest camps for displaced people — a United Nations-run college campus and the Nasser Hospital —  are both within half a mile of the area under the evacuation order. 

On Dec. 1, an airstrike already hit less than 1,000 feet from the Nasser Hospital and multiple schools being used to house displaced people. 

It's not clear how the IDF expects the facilities housing internally displaced people to take in even more people. The United Nations says its facilities are already at four times their capacity on average, creating unsafe and unsanitary living conditions for those living there. 

Over the weekend, Israel's ambassador to the UK said: "Israel made sure there is a place for the people of Gaza to have their shelters. There is a place in Gaza called the Muwasi. Muwasi is the place where they all can have a shelters, together with international organization, we created shelters for the Palestinian people." 

But Al-Mawasi is not yet set up for that. It's a small, remote and rural part of the Gaza Strip and has none of the infrastructure or facilities that would be needed to house the vast number of civilians in Gaza fleeing Israel's airstrikes or ground forces. 

Israel's new evacuation map didn't specify Al-Mawasi as a place for people in Khan Yunis to go to. It's not clear if they've updated their directions or are offering alternatives for places near Rafah on the border with Egypt. 

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