'Palestinians are sleeping on the streets' say Gazans in the south as truce ends

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the south say they have nowhere to go

A Palestinian casualty in Rafah after Israel resumed its bombardment of Gaza after a temporary truce between Hamas and Israel expired on Friday. Reuters
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Gazans in the south of the enclave are calling for a truce extension as Israeli strikes resumed on Friday with "nowhere to escape", residents told The National.

"We are exhausted, we need this extension," Samira Amr, 75, a housewife from Khan Younis, said as she headed towards Rafah.

Black smoke covered much of the besieged territory as Israel dropped leaflets over southern areas early on Friday urging civilians to leave their homes to avoid the fighting.

Despite being advised to head towards Rafah, on the border, hundreds of thousands who are crammed in the south with no exit, say they have nowhere to go.

"We are carrying our belongings on our heads and heading nowhere. Israel must have mercy on us," Ms Amr said.

Gaza's 2.3 million people have been uprooted from their homes since Israel on October 7 launched a full-scale war on Gaza, killing more than 15,000 Palestinians including 6,000 children according to Gaza's Health Ministry.

The toll is likely to be much higher as the ministry says thousands more are feared dead under the rubble.

"Look at the Palestinian population, they are sleeping on the streets, we are on the street, we’ve lost everything, my wife is sick and has high blood pressure," Ibrahim Abu Jidda told The National as he was walking with his family towards Rafah.

"We don't know where we are going to," he said.

Israel says 77 of its soldiers have been killed in the ground offensive. It claims to have killed thousands of militants, without providing evidence.

A mother of two was crying when she spoke to The National as she carried her children with "nowhere to go".

"All I’ve got is bread," she said.

"I don't know what our fate is or where we will end up," said the mother who, for security reasons, refused to give her name.

Rami Abu Taim, a resident in south Gaza told The National that residents started to flee their homes as soon as Israel began striking the area.

"We left our home because it was targeted by Israel. The humanitarian and economic situation is very difficult," he said.

"We are heading towards nowhere, just a safe zone without the bombings," Mr Abu Taim said.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the war resumed because Hamas had breached the terms of the truce. “It has not met its obligation to release all the women hostages today and has launched rockets at Israeli citizens,” he said in a statement.

Hamas claimed Israel had asked for the release of 10 female soldiers, which it rejected.

Hamas blamed Israel for the end of the truce, saying in a statement that it had rejected all offers Hamas made to release more hostages and bodies of the dead.

The Israeli military’s announcement of the resumption of strikes came only 30 minutes after the ceasefire expired early on Friday.

Updated: December 02, 2023, 1:47 PM