The three-hour deadline to evacuate north Gaza long over, the Israeli Defence Forces are now waiting for political green signal for the long-expected ground offensive. A new front meanwhile, is opening up on the border with Lebanon.
Here are top 10 points on this big story:
- Israel has told 1.1 million people in northern Gaza to leave for the south of the territory and thousands are using the designated safe routes today. Around 1.1 million people – nearly half the population of 2.4 million – live in north Gaza
- Military spokesmen Lieutenant Richard Hecht and Daniel Hagari told the media in told separate briefings that “a political decision” will set off any action against Hamas after its October 7 attacks that left at least 1,300 dead in Israel.
- But Israel has been under pressure from the United Nations and some of its allies, who want any ground offensive to be put on hold till the civilians have left. The military has not said when the safe passage window will close.
- The UN has repeatedly said that evacuating north Gaza is well near impossible, given the population density in the strip. For hospitals, moving some of the seriously injured patients will mean certain death, it said.
- A ground invasion has also raised concern about the safety of the 150 hostages – Israelis and foreigners — captured by Hamas during its rampage on Saturday.
- Today, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant discussed the evacuation of Gaza civilians and “humanitarian issues” with US senators, his department said.
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told troops near the Gaza border on Saturday that “more is coming”. In talks with US President Joe Biden, he also said a ground offensive is inevitable. But he has not revealed when the operation will begin.
- Israel has massed tens of thousands of troops around Gaza for the offensive that its leaders have promised would change the face of the middle-east.
- The Israeli defence Forces have singled out Yahya Sinwar, the chief of Hamas in Gaza whom they blame for the October 7 attacks. “That man is in our sights,” military spokesmen Lieutenant Richard Hecht said today. “He is a dead man walking and we will get to that man.”
- Since the October 7 attacks — in which more than 1300 people were killed — thousands of air raids have been staged in Gaza that claimed more than 2,300 lives.