Srinagar- A Srinagar woman and her family living in war ravaged Gaza have left her home and are waiting for safe passage near the coastal strip’s southern border with Egypt after Israel ordered some 1.1 million Palestinians on Friday to evacuate northern Gaza and head to the southern part of the besieged territory.
Frightened residents fled Gaza City after Israel told more than 1mn people to leave the area in a move Palestinians denounced as a “forced displacement” and which the UN said would be “calamitous”.
Thousands were on the move on Friday, fleeing their homes in overcrowded minibuses, cars and on foot as they contended with fuel shortages and destroyed roads.
“I left home early in the morning with my husband and daughter and had to undergo a difficult time to reach the southern side of Gaza near the border. The roads have been all destroyed in Israeli bombings, and even transport is a major issue”, Lubna Nazir Shaboo, an Indian from Jammu & Kashmir living in Gaza, told PTI.
Following the brutal attacks by the Hamas militants early on October 7 in the southern areas of the Jewish state, backed by a barrage of rockets that hit even the central parts of the country, Israel vowed an unprecedented offensive against the Islamic militant group that has ruled Gaza since 2007.
Israeli warplanes have since pounded downtown Gaza City, home to Hamas’ centres of government.
On the seventh day, over 3,000 people were killed on both sides. In Gaza, at least 1,799 people have been killed, according to authorities there.
Israel Defence Forces on Friday ordered some 1.1 million Palestinians, roughly half the population of the densely populated territory under Islamist Hamas’ control, to evacuate northern Gaza and head to the southern part of the besieged territory.
The move is being seen as a preparation for an imminent massive ground incursion, with Israel drafting an unprecedented number of Israeli reservists, starting Saturday when it faced brutal attacks in its southern areas by Hamas,
“We will stay here and see if we can be allowed to move into Egypt, where my two other children also study,” Shaboo said.
The only exit route from Gaza, the Rafah crossing with Egypt, was closed down on Monday, practically closing all possibilities of escape for Gazans.
UN agencies working in Gaza have warned that the Israeli decision could “prove calamitous”.
Shaboo earlier told PTI that “the sounds of bombardment are too scary, and the whole house shakes. It is a very very scary situation.”
Israel has also cut off electricity, water and food supplies to Gaza, strangulating the territory with a population of 2.3 million.
The Indian diplomatic missions in the region are in constant touch with the Indian nationals, and relevant authorities are looking to find a safe passage to get them out of the strife-struck region. Four Indian nationals are known to live in Gaza.
“We are in touch and are trying to help all Indians but the situation on the ground constrains our options,” the Representative Office of India in Ramallah earlier told PTI.
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