Jerusalem, Oct 18 (EFE).- The Israeli army declared a humanitarian zone in southern Gaza on Wednesday for international aid and called on Palestinians in the north to evacuate in preparation for a potential ground assault, hours before the arrival of United States President Joe Biden.
Biden is expected to arrive in the region for peace initiatives amid an ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist Hamas.
An Israeli Army spokesperson said Gaza residents should evacuate to the Al Mawasi humanitarian zone near Khan Younis, where “international humanitarian aid will be provided as needed.”
The announcement followed a carnage at a Gaza hospital, where a bombing killed at least 500 Palestinians on Tuesday night. Israel and Palestinian militants have blamed each other for the mayhem.
The bombing was the deadliest incident in the enclave in the five wars between Palestinian militants in Gaza and Israel since 2008.
The hospital attack has drawn strong criticism from the international community, including the US. It has also ignited anger in the occupied West Bank and worldwide.
For several days, Israel has been issuing evacuation orders for the northern part of Gaza, even as the bombing continues in the Palestinian enclave, and preparations are made for a potential ground incursion.
However, evacuating 1.1 million Gazans, comprising half of the enclave’s population, has proven to be exceptionally challenging due to road hazards, a fuel shortage crisis, and a complete lack of electricity, water, and food amid Israeli bombing and blockade.
Hamas has also allegedly tried to deter civilians from evacuating.
Despite international efforts, the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt has not been opened, leaving numerous humanitarian aid trucks waiting for permission to enter.
The Israel-Hamas conflict entered its 12th day on Wednesday. The war has killed 3,000 people and 12,500 injured in the Gaza Strip. Over 1,400 people have died and more than 4,200 have been injured in Israel. EFE