A statement from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Sunday revealed that despite the opening of a humanitarian corridor to allow civilians to leave the war-torn Gaza Strip for Egypt, Hamas was reportedly obstructing Palestinians from evacuating southward for their own safety. According to a released telephone conversation between an Israeli Intelligence Officer and a resident of Jabalya in Gaza, it was claimed that Hamas had confiscated personal belongings and car keys from those seeking refuge.
Amid the conflict in Gaza, which has tragically resulted in 2,329 casualties and over 9,000 injuries, a recent report from the Times of Israel stated that an arrangement had been made to permit foreign nationals to exit the beleaguered region. Egypt, Israel, and the United States agreed to facilitate the passage of foreigners through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt, with assurances from the Israeli forces not to target the areas through which the foreigners would pass.
The report further mentioned Qatar’s involvement in the negotiations and highlighted the approval received from the Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. However, it was noted that the agreement did not include any provisions for the release of Israelis currently being held hostage by Hamas.
A second official at the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing confirmed that they had received instructions to reopen the crossing for foreigners from Gaza on Saturday afternoon. Additionally, numerous individuals affected by heavy rocket fire were reportedly displaced, seeking refuge in more peaceful parts of the country.
The IDF communicated to residents of northern Gaza that an evacuation corridor would be available between 10 am and 1 pm (local time), emphasizing that no military operations would be conducted along this route. Moreover, residents were advised to move to the south of the Strip in anticipation of a potential ground operation, with the IDF asserting that Hamas leaders had already secured their own safety.
In parallel, the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza disclosed that 2,329 Palestinians had lost their lives, and another 9,042 had sustained injuries due to the Israeli airstrikes. The Israel Defense Forces claimed to have eliminated approximately 1,500 Palestinian militants within Israeli territory, who had breached the border fence and perpetrated lethal attacks, resulting in over 1,300 civilian deaths.
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