Israel Army Publishes Map It Says Advises Gazans of Safe Evacuation Areas

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The Israeli army said on Friday that with the resumption of fighting it had published a map to advise Gazans of safe areas for their evacuation.

Its statement linked to an Israeli army website in Arabic showing an Evacuation Zone Map. It said an Arabic-language video had been released on social networks and the map was being distributed by the army in Gaza.

“This divides the territory of the Gaza Strip into areas according to recognizable areas to enable the residents of Gaza to orient themselves and understand the instructions, and to evacuate from specific places for their safety if required,” the statement said.

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on his third visit to the Middle East since war began on Oct. 7, told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel’s campaign in southern Gaza must not repeat the massive loss of civilian life and displacement seen during its offensive in the north.

Blinken said he had laid out clear steps for Israel to minimise civilian casualties but did not say whether he was assured the steps would be taken.

Israel resumed combat operations against Hamas in Gaza on Friday after accusing the Palestinian militant group of firing rockets at Israel and reneging on a deal to free all women held as hostages, violating their temporary truce agreement.

A week-long pause had allowed for the exchange of dozens of hostages held in Gaza for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and facilitated the entry of humanitarian aid into the coastal strip.

Much of Gaza, an enclave of 2.3 million people, was reduced to wasteland in an Israeli offensive in retaliation for an Oct. 7 Hamas assault in which Israel says 1,200 people were killed and about 240 taken hostage.

Gazan authorities say Israel’s bombardment has so far killed more than 15,000 people in the Hamas-run enclave.

(Writing by Howard Goller; Editing by Ari Rabinovitch)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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