New fear for Gaza's citizens as Israeli snipers and tanks close in

Families begin journey south carrying piles of belongings past armoured vehicles

Gazans flee north on foot as Israeli attacks continue

Gazans flee north on foot as Israeli attacks continue
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For Gaza residents already facing the round-the-clock terror of heavy Israeli air strikes, a new fear is emerging as Israeli ground operations close in on Gaza city.

Israeli tanks and armoured vehicles have become an increasingly common sight in the north, with most Israeli advances and fierce battles being reported at night.

Now Israeli snipers have taken positions near homes in Al Karama in north-west Gaza.

Hordes of families carrying huge piles of belongings had begun to walk from Al Shati refugee camp, which has been hit several times, to Salahuddin road, which the Israelis had marked for evacuation to the south.

For Palestinians still in the enclave, the prospect of moving to safe areas is a traumatic one.

Those fleeing northern Gaza are having to walk past Israeli tanks as well as bodies as they journey to Salahuddin, itself heavily damaged by the tanks now stationed there, witnesses told The National.

"People are having to manoeuvre on foot among the tanks. Some of them are being asked for ID. Some people have been taken," one witness said.

"Any car would have to drive us to Salahuddin and drop us off to walk for several kilometres until we can get into a car again, because of the road damage.

Some of them were walking towards Al Shifa hospital, which has also been hit by strikes, the correspondent said.

At the hospital, patients were lying on the floor on mattresses.

The hospital has become a shantytown, with tents in its courtyard as tens of thousands of people seek shelter and treatment.

About 900,000 people are still in the built-up northern part of the densely populated enclave, the health ministry said, where Israel has claimed the Hamas leadership is now surrounded.

During a four-hour evacuation window on Sunday, almost 2,000 made the move, followed by about 5,000 on Monday, according to UN monitors.

Those travelling from the north into south Gaza – where buildings are closer together – are crammed into residential buildings with friends and family members.

"That's why more people are killed in a single air strike than they are in the north," the witness said.

Israeli military forces "came from the north and the south," Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said in a televised briefing. "They stormed it in full co-ordination between land, air and sea forces."

At least 10,000 civilians have been killed in little more than a month of Israeli bombardment that followed Hamas’s deadly raids into southern Israel that killed 1,400 – also mostly civilians.

Health and aid workers are also suffering significant casualties.

On Wednesday, Medicins Sans Frontiers said health worker Mohammed Al Ahel had been killed during an Israeli attack on the Al Shati refugee camp, while the Red Cross said two of its ambulances had been hit in strikes.

With reporting from Nada AlTaher

Updated: November 09, 2023, 6:44 AM