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Mattresses Strapped To Cars, Gazans Start Fleeing After Israel Ultimatum

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A video showed civilians in several cars – with clothes, and mattresses tied to their roofs – leaving.

Several residents of the Gaza Strip have started leaving their homes after Israel’s military’s 24-hour ultimatum to relocate south ahead of an expected ground invasion that risks high casualties.

A video showed civilians in several cars – with clothes, and mattresses tied to their roofs – evacuating the small strip of land they called home for all these years.

According to a post by a reporter on Palestinian Affairs on X, formerly, Twitter, the visuals are from North Gaza.

Israel has mobilised 300,000 reservists and amassed tanks as its military pledged to operate “significantly” in coming days in response to a devastating attack by the Palestinian group Hamas.

“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 military said, accusing Hamas of hiding in and under civilian buildings.

The United Nations has warned that Israel’s call for Gaza civilians to leave could not happen “without devastating humanitarian consequences”, prompting a rebuke from Israel which said it should condemn Hamas and support Israel’s right to self-defence.The World Health Organisation expressed concern over the order by Israel, saying local health authorities have informed it that it was impossible to evacuate vulnerable hospital patients from northern Gaza.

“There are severely ill people whose injuries mean their only chances of survival is being on life support, such as mechanical ventilators,” said WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic.

“So moving those people is a death sentence. Asking health workers to do so is beyond cruel,” he said.

Much of the more than one million population of Gaza city is descended from refugees who fled or were expelled from homes in Israel at its founding in 1948. Gazans have suffered economic collapse and repeated Israeli bombardment under a blockade since Hamas seized power there 16 years ago.

Talks to create a Palestinian state collapsed a decade ago and Israel’s right-wing government has cracked down in the West Bank and talked of seizing more land. Palestinian leaders say this left the population with no hope, strengthening extremists.

The Hamas attack on Saturday killed more than 1,300 Israelis. More than 1,500 Palestinians have been killed in retaliatory attacks.