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Israel-Hamas war: Israel warns those in Gaza's north to flee

Published October 13, 2023last updated October 14, 2023

Israel's military told residents of Gaza City to relocate toward the south within 24 hours. The UN said evacuation orders from Israel could affect 1.1 million people and have devastating consequences.

Palestinians carrying their belongings flee to safer areas in Gaza City after Israeli air strikes
Israel called for people in northern Gaza to move to the south amid expectations of a ground offensiveImage: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

  • Israel's military told residents of Gaza City to relocate south
  • UN chief Antonio Guterres warns against "humanitarian catastrophe" 
  • Israel's army says ground forces have made small raids into Gaza
  • Pro-Palestinian demonstrations have taken place across the Middle East 

This live updates from Friday, October 13 is now closed. For the latest on the Hamas-Israel conflict, please click here  

Skip next section UN estimates tens of thousands have fled in Gaza
October 14, 2023

UN estimates tens of thousands have fled in Gaza

Tens of thousands of people are estimated to have fled to southern Gaza on Friday and Saturday, the United Nations humanitarian office said.

It comes after Israeli military told over 1 million people to evacuate to the southern part of Gaza ahead of an anticipated ground offensive.

Before the evacuation directive, 423,000 people in the Gaza Strip had already fled their homes, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The mass evacuation directive applies to around 1.1 million people in Gaza overall. 

Skip next section Guterres: Death of Reuters journalist shows danger of spillover
October 14, 2023

Guterres: Death of Reuters journalist shows danger of spillover

The death of Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah, who was reporting from southern Lebanon when an Israeli shell landed, shows the danger of the conflict between Israel and Hamas spilling over, United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said.

"I want to say how much this demonstrates the enormous risk of spillover of this conflict, namely in relation to Lebanon," the UN Secretary-General said.

Guterres made the comment while expressing his "deepest condolences" to the family of Abdallah.

Two other Reuters journalists were also injured in the same incident, as were two journalists from Al Jazeera and two more from AFP.

White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre also offered condolences for  thosejournalists killed and wounded in the line of duty.

"Our hearts are with the families of the journalists who lost their lives and those who suffered injuries in Lebanon," she said.

"Journalists do critical work to better inform the public, often in dangerous conditions."

There have been sporadic exchanges of fire between Israel and Hezbollah along the Lebanon-Israel since last Saturday's terror attack by the Hamas militants on southern Israel.

Germany, the United States, Israel, and several other governments have designated Hezbollah a terror organization.

Skip next section 'Appalling,' 'disastrous,' 'horrific:' international, humanitarian organizations slam evacuation order
October 13, 2023

'Appalling,' 'disastrous,' 'horrific:' international, humanitarian organizations slam evacuation order

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Amnesty International have expressed their horror at the 24-hour evacuation order issued by the Israeli military to citizens in the Gaza Strip ahead of an expected ground offensive.

The WHO said on Friday that a mass evacuation of the northern Gaza Strip would be "disastrous" for hospital patients, with hospitals in the south already at full capacity.

"The Palestinian Ministry of Health has informed WHO that it is impossible to evacuate vulnerable hospital patients without endangering their lives," the UN health agency said in a statement.

"Vulnerable patients include those who are critically injured or dependent on life support. Moving them amid hostilities puts their lives at immediate risk. A mass evacuation would be disastrous – for patients, health workers and other civilians left behind or caught in the mass movement."

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has called the evacuation order "an impossible demand" that "cannot be considered an effective warning" and “may amount to forced displacement of the civilian population, a violation of international humanitarian law."

Amnesty secretary general Agnes Callamard said the "appalling" order "has sowed panic among the population and left thousands of internally displaced Palestinians now sleeping on the streets, not knowing where to flee to or where they can find safety amid a relentless bombing campaign by Israel and merciless collective punishment measures."

United Nations expert on displacement Pauls Gaviria Betancur said she was "horrified" by the evacuation order and "by the idea that a million more Palestinians should join the 423,000 people who have already been forced from their homes by the violence of the past week."

She said it was "inconceivable" that so many Gazans would be able to cross an active war zone without "devastating humanitarian consequences."

Skip next section Egypt and Saudi Arabia criticize Gaza evacuation order
October 13, 2023

Egypt and Saudi Arabia criticize Gaza evacuation order

Egypt and Saudi Arabia have criticized the order issued by the Israeli military to the civilian population of Gaza to evacuate the northern part of the Gaza Strip ahead of an anticipated ground offensive.

Riyadh said it rejected the "forced resettlement" of more than one million people and called for an end to all forms of military escalation that target civilians.

Egypt also criticized the evacuation order, calling it "a grave violation of the rules of international humanitarian law."

In a foreign ministry statement, Cairo said the Israeli government should refrain from taking such escalatory steps, as they "would have serious consequences on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip."

It called on the UN Security Council to fulfill its responsibility to stop this "serious development" and urged the UN and international actors to "intervene to prevent further escalation."

Of the Arab nations in the region, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have enjoyed more cordial relations with Israel in recent years. Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, while Saudi Arabia and Israel had been edging towards a US-backed normalization of relations until last weekend's terror attack by Hamas.

Israel-Saudi Arabia relations: Where do talks stand?

Skip next section Biden: 'won't stop until US hostages home'
October 13, 2023

Biden: 'won't stop until US hostages home'

US President Joe Biden has reaffirmed his commitment to rescuing the American citizens among the hostages taken by Hamas militants from Israel to Gaza.

After speaking to family members in Philadelphia, he said: "They're going through agony not knowing what the status of their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, children are. It's gut wrenching."

"We are working around the clock to secure the release of Americans held by Hamas, in close cooperation with Israel and our partners around the region," he continued.

"We're not going to stop until we bring them home."

Skip next section Biden: addressing humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a 'priority'
October 13, 2023

Biden: addressing humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a 'priority'

US President Joe Biden has said that addressing the escalating humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip is a "priority" as Israeli airstrikes continue ahead of an expected ground offensive.

"We can't lose sight of the fact that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians had nothing to do with Hamas and Hamas' appalling attacks, and they're suffering as a result as well," Biden said during a speech in Philadelphia.

Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization by the US, Germany and other countries, rules the Palestinian territory of Gaza.

The president reiterated his staunch support for Israel following Saturday's terror attack by Hamas militants, which he described as "pure evil."

But he insisted that: "It's also a priority for me to urgently address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. At my direction, our teams are working in the region, communicating directly with the governments of Israel, Egypt, Jordan and other Arab nations and the United Nations to surge support."

Skip next section UNRWA says evacuation of northern Gaza 'impossible'
October 13, 2023

UNRWA says evacuation of northern Gaza 'impossible'

Israel's calls to evacuate the northern Gaza Strip are "impossible" to implement, according to Juliette Touma, the director of communications for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

"How can you remove 1 million people in 24 hours? It's not doable at all," she said in an interview with DW.

Touma said that before the outbreak of the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, 1.2 million people in Gaza already relied on UNRWA for food assistance.

"The levels of poverty were at 80%," she said.

She said that at least 270,000 people had been seeking refuge in UNRWA schools in Gaza, some of which she said had been subject to "direct" strikes since the weekend.

Touma said that UNRWA was calling for "humanitarian access" for aid organizations.

"We haven't been able to send supplies. Our supplies are fast dwindling," she said.

Israel has carried out airstrikes on Gaza and imposed a full blockade on the territory following an unprecedented terror attack staged by Hamas militants on Israel on Saturday.

Skip next section Blinken urges Israel to use 'precautions' to avoid harming civilians
October 13, 2023

Blinken urges Israel to use 'precautions' to avoid harming civilians

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called on Israel to limit Palestinian civilian deaths during a visit to Qatar.

"We have urged the Israelis to use every possible precaution to avoid harm to civilians," he told a news conference.

"We recognize many Palestinian families in Gaza are suffering through no fault of their own and that Palestinian civilians have lost their lives."

"What Israel is doing is not retaliation. What Israel is doing is defending the lives of its people," Blinken said. "Any country, faced with what Israel has suffered, would likely do the same thing."

He praised Qatar for showing "urgency" in efforts to persuade the Hamas militant group to free an estimated 150 hostages taken during a wide-scale terror attack on Israeli territory on Saturday.

Qatar is one of the main financial backers of Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization by the European Union, the United States and Germany, among others.

Skip next section UN chief Guterres warns against Gaza 'humanitarian catastrophe'
October 13, 2023

UN chief Guterres warns against Gaza 'humanitarian catastrophe'

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Israel to prevent a "humanitarian catastrophe" in the Gaza Strip, according to spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

"People should not be forced to move against their will," Dujarric said.

The UN has opposed the Israeli military's call for a mass evacuation of northern Gaza, which would affect some 1.1 million people.

Dujarric said that the secretary-general was in constant contact with officials from the US, Egypt and other countries to ensure the resumption of aid deliveries to Gaza.

He said that shipments have been interrupted for days, adding that UN supplies in the enclave were practically exhausted.

Dujarric said that 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza urgently needed support.

The spokesperson urged for civilians to be protected at all costs, adding that UN facilities must not be attacked.

Skip next section Netanyahu says strikes on Gaza 'just the beginning'
October 13, 2023

Netanyahu says strikes on Gaza 'just the beginning'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to destroy the Hamas militant group in a televised address.

"This is just the beginning," Netanyahu said, referring to Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip following Hamas' deadly terror attack on the weekend.

"We will end this war stronger than ever," he added. "We will destroy Hamas and win, but it will take time." 

Israel's head of government said that his country had widespread international support for the operation in Gaza.

Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, Germany, the EU and the US.

Skip next section 'No doubt' Israel is preparing Gaza ground operation: military analyst
October 13, 2023

'No doubt' Israel is preparing Gaza ground operation: military analyst

Military analyst Frank Ledwidge told DW that all indications pointed to an imminent ground operation by Israeli forces into Gaza.

"The preparations are visible to everybody. Whilst there may be an element of surprise to this, there's no doubt at all that they're going in," Ledwidge said.

The former UK military intelligence officer said an Israeli ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, ruled by militant Islamist group Hamas, could take place in the next few days.

Ledwidge said he believed such an operation would look similar to efforts to fight the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) terror group in Iraq and Syria, except that Hamas was better prepared.

"Hamas is far better prepared, better armed, equally motivated," Ledwidge said, comparing the group to IS.

"Hamas ... has drones, it will have prepared tunnels, fortifications, strong points, killing zones and all the rest," he said, adding that Israel would be "cognizant of all that in their planning."

Ledwidge predicted there would be "really tough, bloody, urban fighting."

Asked whether Israel was preparing for a multi-front war, he said: "They're prepared for Hezbollah and indeed it's worth remembering that Hezbollah is considered the far more formidable adversary than Hamas."

"They're the only Arab army that's defeated the Israelis, albeit to a strategic level," he said, referring to the Iran-backed Shiite political party and militant group in Lebanon. "The Israelis will be more than aware of that."

'No doubt at all that they're going in': Military analyst

Skip next section Palestinian UN envoy warns of 'crime against humanity' in Gaza
October 13, 2023

Palestinian UN envoy warns of 'crime against humanity' in Gaza

The Palestinian envoy to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, has appealed to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to do more to stop what he called a "crime against humanity" by Israel.

"He has to do more. Whatever was done was not sufficient. We need all of us to do more to stop this crime against humanity," he said.

Mansour made the comments during a meeting of Arab Group ambassadors at the UN.

Israel has told nearly half of the population of the Gaza Strip to evacuate southward within the Palestinian territory.

Mansour compared the evacuation order to the exile of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians as part of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, which Palestinians refer to as the "Nakba," or catastrophe.

He said that the current displacement could "potentially [be] a second Nakba."

The envoy said that "there is no place in Gaza that is safe." He called for a cease-fire to allow food, medicine and water into the territory.

On Monday, Israel announced a "total blockade" of the Gaza Strip, halting the delivery of food, aid, and fuel. The move came in response to the weekend terror attack by Hamas that killed more than 1,300 people in Israel.

Skip next section 'Europe stands with Israel' — Von der Leyen
October 13, 2023

'Europe stands with Israel' — Von der Leyen

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is in Israel to express solidarity with the country following deadly incursions by the Hamas militant group.

"This is the most heinous assault against Jews since the Holocaust," she told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, referring to Hamas' attacks.

The European Union classifies Hamas as a terrorist organization, as do Germany, the United States and several other countries.

"We thought this could never happen again, yet it did. In the face of this unspeakable tragedy, there is only one possible response: Europe stands with Israel," she said.

"Hamas' despicable actions are the hallmark of terrorists. And I know that how Israel responds will show that it is a democracy," von der Leyen said.

The office of the Commission president said that she promised that Europe would work more closely with Israel, Egypt and Jordan for a "peaceful and integrated Middle East."

Von der Leyen called for vigilance against Iran and Russia, saying the two states "stand to gain" from conflict in the region.

She also warned that "antisemitic incidents are again on the rise" in Europe.

Skip next section Israeli shelling on Lebanon border kills journalist, injures six more
October 13, 2023

Israeli shelling on Lebanon border kills journalist, injures six more

A Reuters journalist has been killed and six others wounded after an Israeli shell landed among a gathering of international reporters in Alma al Shaab in southern Lebanon, close to the border with Israel.

"We are deeply saddened to learn that our videographer, Issam Abdallah, has been killed," a Reuters spokesperson said.

According to sources who spoke to the German news agency dpa, the wounded included two more journalists from Reuters, two from Qatar's Al-Jazeera TV and two from French news agency AFP – although the agencies are yet to confirm this themselves.

Shortly after the shelling, Lebanese militant group Hezbollah announced in a statement that "the Islamic Resistance, in response to the Israeli attacks on the vicinity of a number of southern Lebanese towns, targeted the site of Al-Abad, Misqvam and Ramieh, with direct and appropriate weapons, achieving accurate hits."

Hezbollah's military arm is designated as a terrorist organization by the European Union, France and others, while both its military and political wings are considered terrorist by the US, Germany, Israel and several Sunni Arab countries.

Skip next section Pro-Palestinian rallies held in some countries, banned in others
October 13, 2023

Pro-Palestinian rallies held in some countries, banned in others

Thousands of people have demonstrated in support of Palestinians across Pakistan after Friday prayers, the AFP news agency reported.

Demonstrations were held in the cities of Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, and the capital, Islamabad,.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrations were also held by a few hundred people in the Afghan cities of Kabul and Jalalabad. The rallies were organized by the Taliban leadership, AFP said.

People also took to the streets in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to protest against Israel's airstrikes on Hamas-ruled Gaza. 

Israel's government is under immense pressure to topple Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip following a brazen terror attack on Israel last weekend.

The Hamas terror attack has killed some 1,300 Israeli civilians and soldiers. In response, Israel launched airstrikes aimed at Hamas military targets in the densely populated Gaza Strip.

Gaza officials say more than 1,700 Palestinians have died and thousands more have been injured in Israeli retaliatory strikes.

Pro-Palestinian protests were also held inIran and Iraq's capitals on Friday.

Berlin authorities ban pro-Palestinian protest

Some European cities, meanwhile, have banned pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

Police in the German capital clashed with pro-Palestinian demonstrators last weekend and refused to authorize subsequent marches, saying such rallies could fuel antisemitic speech and acts..

France's interior minister ordered local authorities to ban all pro-Palestinian demonstrations amid a rise in antisemitic acts since Hamas' deadly assault on Israel.

Militant Islamist Hamas has urged Palestinians to rise up in protest against Israel's bombardment of the blockaded coastal enclave.

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