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Middle East updates: Israel calls for Gaza City evacuation

Published July 10, 2024last updated July 10, 2024

Israel has urged Gaza City residents to evacuate amid heavy shelling. Palestinian authorities have said a strike on a school in Gaza has killed 25 people. DW has the latest.

Smoke rises from Gaza City as people crowd on a street
This is the second evacuation of Gaza City in three weeksImage: Dawoud Abu Alkas/REUTERS
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

Israel has dropped leaflets on Wednesday telling residents of Gaza City to move south. International organizations have warned that the escape routes are "chaotic" and dangerous.

Officials in Washington announced late on Tuesday that a dock it had constructed off the coast of Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid will reopen for a few days before the US pulls it out for good.

Palestinian officials said an Israeli airstrike had killed at least 25 people in a school-turned-shelter in Khan Younis.

Here is a roundup of developments from the Israel-Hamas war and the wider Middle East region on Wednesday, July 10. This blog has now closed.

Skip next section Hezbollah vows to abide by any cease-fire Hamas accepts
July 10, 2024

Hezbollah vows to abide by any cease-fire Hamas accepts

Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia militant group, has vowed to accept and abide by any cease-fire agreement its Palestinian ally Hamas agrees to.

"Hamas is negotiating on its own behalf and on behalf of the Palestinian factions, and also on behalf of the entire Axis of Resistance. What Hamas accepts, we all accept," said Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.

The Axis of Resistance is an Iranian-backed alliance of militant groups in the Middle East which opposes Israel and the US. Alongside Hezbollah and Hamas, it also includes the Yemeni-Houthis and other Shi'ite armed groups in Iraq.

"We do not ask [Hamas] to coordinate with us because the battle in the first instance is theirs," Nasrallah added in a televised address commemorating a senior Hezbollah commander killed in an Israeli strike last week.

He warned nevertheless that "we will never allow any attack that the Israeli enemy might carry out against Lebanon [even] if there is a cease-fire in Gaza."

On Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that "we will continue fighting and doing everything necessary to bring about the desired result" in the campaign against Hezbollah, "even if there is a cease-fire" in the Gaza Strip.

Israel and Hezbollah have exchanged fire almost every day since the war in Gaza was triggered by the Hamas terror attacks on October 7. The recent escalations have raised international fearrs of direct confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah-backer Iran.

Both Hamas and Hezbollah are designated as terrorist groups in several countries.

Skip next section France condemns strike on school sheltering displaced
July 10, 2024

France condemns strike on school sheltering displaced

France has expressed grave concern regarding reports that an Israeli missile hit a school housing displaced civilians in southern Gaza.

The strike on the school left at least 29 people killed, health officials in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip said, adding that the victims were mostly women and children. They had reportedly gathered to watch a football match.

"It is unacceptable that schools, which are meant to be sheltering civilians who have been forced out of their homes due to the fighting, should be targeted," the French Foreign Ministry said. It called for fully investigating the strikes.

"We call on Israel to do its utmost to protect civilians in the conduct of military operations and to fully respect international humanitarian law, in particular the principles of proportionality and distinction."

The Israeli military said it used "precise munitions" to target a Hamas militant involved in the October 7 attacks and mentioned that it was investigating reports of civilian casualties.

Philippe Lazzarini, head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said that four schools have been hit in the enclave in the past four days. He added in a statement on X, formerly Twitter, that two thirds of UNRWA schools in Gaza have been hit since the start of the war. "Some were bombed out, many severely damaged."

"Schools have gone from safe places of education and hope for children to overcrowded shelters and often ending up a place of death and misery," Lazzarini added.

Skip next section Some 60% of Hamas militants 'eliminated or wounded,' Gallant says
July 10, 2024

Some 60% of Hamas militants 'eliminated or wounded,' Gallant says

Sixty percent of Hamas militants have been "eliminated or wounded" in the past nine months of fighting, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Wednesday.

Speaking in parliament, Gallant said Israel "dismantled" most of the Palestinian militant group's 24 battalions.

He said Israel was "determined" to meet its war goals of eradicating Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, as well as bringing back all the hostages still in Gaza. 

"We have returned half of the hostages and we are determined to return the rest," Gallant said. "The security establishment, and myself heading it, are determined to achieve the goals of the war and complete them."

Gallant praised Israeli soldiers for "performing their work with dedication, sacrifice and success" and said "the achievements are many."

Hamas's October 7, 2023, terror attack on Israel sparked a war in the Gaza Strip. 

Skip next section Israel tells Gaza City residents to evacuate
July 10, 2024

Israel tells Gaza City residents to evacuate

Israeli aircraft dropped leaflets on Gaza City on Wednesday, local and international media reported. The leaflets told residents to leave the city as fighting there intensified. 

The thousands of leaflets, addressed as "a call to everyone in Gaza City," set out routes out of the city to the south and warned it would "remain a dangerous combat zone."

The UN and other international organizations have decried Israeli evacuation orders as confusing and unsafe. Hundreds of thousands of Gazans have been displaced multiple times since October 2023.

Skip next section Germany calls attack on school 'unacceptable'
July 10, 2024

Germany calls attack on school 'unacceptable'

German authorities said a Tuesday airstrike by Israeli that killed civilians sheltering in a school was "unacceptable."

"People seeking shelter in schools getting killed is unacceptable. Civilians, especially children, must not get caught in the crossfire," the Foreign Ministry wrote on social media platform X. "The repeated attacks on schools by the Israeli army must stop and an investigation must come quickly."

Skip next section Deadly airstrikes in central Gaza 'safe zone'
July 10, 2024

Deadly airstrikes in central Gaza 'safe zone'

Israeli airstrikes killed 20 Palestinians in central Gaza, including six children, some of them inside a purported "safe zone" declared by the Israeli military, hospital authorities told the Associated Press.

At the same time, separate shelling hit three houses in the Nuseirat refugee camp, killing 12 people including five children.

This second straight night of deadly strikes in the town of Deir al-Balah and surrounding refugee camps came as mediators from the US, Egypt, and Qatar were meeting with Israeli officials in Doha to broker a deal for a cease-fire and hostage release.

Skip next section Israeli strikes hit UNRWA building in Gaza City
July 10, 2024

Israeli strikes hit UNRWA building in Gaza City

Israeli forces continued to step up attacks in Gaza City on Wednesday, hitting a building owned by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA)

The UNRWA has not used the building since last year. In a post on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, the IDF said a tunnel used by Hamas was under the building. 

Israel-Hamas war: Airstrike near Gaza school kills dozens

Skip next section US to dismantle Gaza aid pier, report says
July 10, 2024

US to dismantle Gaza aid pier, report says

Several US officials have confirmed that a makeshift dock built off the coast of the Gaza Strip will be used to deliver some aid over the coming days before being torn down for good, the Associated Press reported.

Efforts to get humanitarian aid into Gaza have been repeatedly hampered by bad weather and airstrikes, despite UN calls for humanitarian supplies to reach Palestinians.

Stormy weather and sea conditions have required the US to move the dock several times since it was constructed two months ago.  

The UN has warned that without new deliveries, the few remaining bakeries in Gaza only have enough fuel to operate for another day or two. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in the first week of July, aid workers were only able to bring 500,000 liters (132,000 gallons) of fuel into Gaza and just about 2 million liters in June.

"In both cases, this was less than a fifth of the estimated 400,000 liters required every day to sustain humanitarian, medical and related operations," he said.

UN assessments have found that the inability to deliver aid in Gaza due to Israeli shelling has led to "catastrophic" levels of hunger, particularly among children.

A makeshift dock off the coast of Gaza
The makeshift pier was only able to offer sporadic aid deliveriesImage: U.S. Army Central/REUTERS
Skip next section UN: Israeli evacuation orders 'chaotic'
July 10, 2024

UN: Israeli evacuation orders 'chaotic'

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Israeli evacuation orders were "dangerously chaotic" for calling on people to pass through neighborhoods where fighting is taking place.

"Civilians in Gaza must be protected and have their basic needs met, whether they move or stay," the UN spokesman said. "Those who leave must have enough time to do so, as well as a safe route and a safe place to go."

Skip next section Heavy bombardment in Khan Younis
July 10, 2024

Heavy bombardment in Khan Younis

Israeli strikes in Khan Younis have forced thousands to flee and killed at least 25 people sheltering in a school on Tuesday, Palestinian health officials said.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement: "A warplane, using precision munitions, attacked a terrorist from the military wing of Hamas who participated in the hideous massacre on October 7th."

The Israeli military has blamed civilian deaths on Hamas for fighting in urban areas. The Israeli army said the airstrike near the school and reports of civilian casualties were under review, and claimed the strike targeted a Hamas militant who took part in the October 7 attack on Israel that killed some 1,200 people in southern Israel. 

Health Ministry officials in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip reported that over 38,200 people have been killed in the territory since October 7. The toll does not differentiate between combatants and civilians.

Israel, Germany, the United States, as well as several other countries, designate Hamas as a terrorist organization. 

es/sms (AP, AFP, Reuters)