Israel orders more evacuations in southern Gaza as fighting resumes

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Israel issued another round of evacuation orders on Sunday in southern Gaza after it resumed fighting with militant group Hamas in the wake of a weeklong truce.

The Israeli military ordered evacuations in and near Gaza’s second-largest city, Khan Younis, on Sunday, The Associated Press reported. The AP noted that there was heavy bombardment overnight in the area, as well as near Rafah in the south and in the north.

The evacuation orders come after thousands of Palestinians fled to southern Gaza to avoid Israeli attacks in the north, resulting in many of Gaza’s 2.3 million people cramming into the southern part of the territory. It also comes after a weeklong truce between Israel and Hamas ended on Friday, meaning that the two sides have began exchanging fire again.

Just minutes after the truce ended, Israeli fighter jets hit Gaza on Friday. The military started warning residents of southern Gaza to leave their homes that day and expanded those orders Sunday. This signals that Israel is aiming to expand their operations in the south.

During the temporary cease-fire, Hamas released more than 100 people it had taken hostage in the deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel in exchange for about 240 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israel prisons. U.S. and Israeli officials said the expiration of the truce was Hamas’ fault because it failed to produce a list of hostages — just women and children — to be released Friday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also pulled his country’s negotiators from Qatar on Saturday, saying that they reached an “impasse” with Hamas. It’s unclear when, if at all, negotiations for a temporary cease-fire will continue.

Residents in southern Gaza told the AP that the Israeli military dropped leaflets ordering them to move south to Rafah or to a coastal area in the southwest. These evacuation orders were dropped in at least five or more neighborhoods near Khan Younis.

 “Khan Younis city is a dangerous combat zone,” the leaflets read, the AP reported.

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