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Israel claims Hamas is blocking Palestinians from leaving northern Gaza, as terrorists say IDF strike killed 70 refugees
14 October 2023, 19:08
Israel has claimed that Hamas is blocking Palestinians from leaving Gaza as it prepares for an invasion of the densely populated area.
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Israel's invasion of Gaza is expected imminently. Its government told Palestinians to leave northern Gaza before the invasion, giving them until 1pm UK time on Saturday to leave via two routes.
The deadline has now expired, and it is unclear how many Palestinians have managed to get to safety. Hamas has also accused Israel of bombing a convoy of civilians fleeing, killing as many as 70.
Israel said on Saturday evening: "We have proof that Hamas is putting up roadblocks to prevent Palestinian civilians from evacuating from northern to southern Gaza.
"Hamas prides itself on putting civilians in harm’s way and is responsible for every civilian casualty."
The government put photos of what it claimed were roadblocks on a route out of the most dangerous area.
We have proof that Hamas is putting up roadblocks to prevent Palestinian civilians from evacuating from northern to southern Gaza.— Israel ישראל 🇮🇱 (@Israel) October 14, 2023
Hamas prides itself on putting civilians in harm’s way and is responsible for every civilian casualty.
📸 @IDF #HamasISIS pic.twitter.com/2F4mJSvG6S
Earlier, Hamas said that an Israeli strike had hit a group of civilians leaving north Gaza to the south, killing about 70, including women and several children as young as 2.
Meanwhile Rafah, the border between Gaza and Egypt to the south, remained closed to people trying to cross to safety. Reports have circulated of the border opening to US citizens.
Civilians should "take advantage of the short time to move south" from Beit Hanoun to Khan Yunis, Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesman Avichay Adraee said earlier.
Mr Adraee said in a Twitter post: "An important statement to the residents of Gaza City.
"In recent days, we have appealed to you to leave Gaza City to the south of Wadi Gaza in order to preserve your safety.
"I would like to inform you that the IDF will allow movement on the indicated streets without any harm between the hours of 10:00-16:00.
"For your safety, take advantage of the short time to move south - from Beit Hanoun to Khan Yunis. If you care about yourself and your loved ones, go south as instructed.
"Rest assured that Hamas leaders have taken care of themselves and are taking cover from strikes in the region.
"Residents of the beach, sand, and west of Olive will also be allowed to move on Daldul and Al-Sana Streets towards Salah Al-Din and Al-Bahr Streets."
Israel is preparing to launch a ground invasion, having already carried out a series of localised raids in Gaza overnight.
Strikes have levelled entire city blocks, and Gaza has been sealed off from food, water and medical supplies - all under a virtual total power blackout.
The UN has called on Israel to reverse the unprecedented directive, with secretary general Antonio Guterres saying the situation has reached a "new low".
The Israel-Gaza war cannot be an 'eye for an eye' says Lewis Goodall
Israel's raids into Gaza on Friday were the first indication that troops had entered the territory since Israel began its round-the-clock bombardment in retaliation for the Hamas massacre.
Palestinian militants have fired thousands of rockets into Israel since the fighting erupted.
Speaking in an earlier address, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to "destroy Hamas", saying: "Today, everyone knows that we’re fighting for the homeland, and we’re fighting like lions.
“We’ll never forget the Hamas onslaught. We are striking our enemies with unprecedented might.
“We will destroy Hamas, and we will win, but it will take time."