Israel Latest: IDF Urges Evacuation of Gaza City, Signaling Incursion

Israel called for an evacuation of all civilians in Gaza City and told the United Nations to move its staff away from nearby areas, indicating a ground operation could be coming soon. The UN said the Israeli military gave 24 hours for the evacuation.

(Bloomberg) — Israel called for an evacuation of all civilians in Gaza City and told the United Nations to move its staff away from nearby areas, indicating a ground operation could be coming soon. The UN said the Israeli military gave 24 hours for the evacuation.

The death toll in Israel from Saturday’s attack by militant group Hamas reached 1,300, while more than 1,500 people have been killed in Gaza from retaliatory airstrikes.

Israel has massed troops near the Gaza Strip and signaled a major ground offensive could be imminent as it seeks to “wipe out” Hamas, designated a terrorist group by the US, EU and UK. Hamas called for a “Day of Rage” and mass protests on Friday, the main day of prayer for Muslims. Iran warned Israel could face a multi-front war if attacks on Gaza continue.

For more on the Israel-Hamas war, click here.

(All time stamps are Israeli time)

Iran Says New Front Possible if ‘Israeli War Crimes’ Continue (7:53 a.m.)

“The continuation of the war crimes against Palestine and Gaza will definitely be met with reactions in other axes in the region,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said in Lebanon, referring to the “axis of resistance” of Iran-backed anti-Israel groups in the region.

Hezbollah, Israel Trade Fire on Lebanon’s Volatile Border

Asked about the possibility of a new front being opened in the war, he said “every possibility and decision by the other currents of the resistance is likely” if the “war crimes and humanitarian blockade of Gaza and Palestine” continue.

Israel Urges Evacuation Of Gaza City for ‘Safety’ of Civilians (7:31 a.m.)

The Israeli army urged Palestinian civilians in Gaza City to move south of the Gaza river, warning of significant military activity in the area in the coming days.

Israel “calls for the evacuation of all civilians of Gaza City from their homes southwards for their own safety and protection and move to the area south of the Wadi Gaza,” Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

The United Nations said Israel had given 24 hours for the evacuation, though the Israeli statement itself gave no timeframe.

UN Tells Israel To Not Attack Civilians in Gaza Shelters, Schools (7:15 a.m.)

The UN said it had relocated its central operations center and international staff to a location in the south of Gaza to continue its humanitarian operations for Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip.

UN Calls Israel Order to Evacuate 1.1 Million in Gaza Impossible

It urged “the Israeli authorities to protect all civilians in UNRWA shelters including schools,” a statement from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency said. “They are UN facilities. They must be protected at all times and must never come under attack in accordance with international humanitarian law.”

US Seeking Safe Passage for Americans, Others Out of Gaza (07:10 a.m.)

The US is in talks with other nations, including Egypt and Israel, about ensuring safe passage out of Gaza for Americans and other civilians, CNN reported, citing US officials it didn’t identify.

Egypt is pressing to open a humanitarian corridor to rush food and medical aid into Gaza without having people flee south into its territory, CNN said, citing one US official. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has previously said talks about establishing a humanitarian corridor were underway.

US House Eyes Aid Package (3:09 a.m.)

Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul, a Republican, said the House might need to grant legislative powers to Patrick McHenry, the speaker pro tem, so the chamber can act on a national security package for Israel. Doing so would almost certainly require some Democratic support.

Another Republican, David Joyce of Ohio, told reporters he’s contacted Democrats about expanding McHenry’s authority for a limited period and that Democrats have been amenable to that approach to act on issues like Israel. But Representative Steve Scalise abandoned his short-lived campaign to become speaker, which has only deepened divisions within the party and prolonged the House’s inability to respond to the Middle East war. 

GOP Hawks Call for Bipartisan Speaker Deal to Speed Israel Aid

Von Der Leyen to Visit Israel on Friday (2:50 a.m.)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will be in Israel on Friday with the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, the EU said. 

The visit is intended to “express solidarity with the victims of the Hamas terrorist attacks, and meet with Israeli leadership,” according to a news release. The two leaders will also make a call to establish humanitarian corridors to Gaza, according to a person familiar with the trip.

Egypt’s President Calls for Humanitarian Aid to Gaza (11:55 p.m.) 

Gazans must “stay steadfast and remain on their land,” Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told a military graduation ceremony in a televised speech, as he called for the urgent delivery of international humanitarian assistance to the besieged territory.

Egypt, which in 1980 became the first Arab country to normalize relations with Israel, has mediated between the warring sides during previous conflicts in Gaza. The US has said it’s in talks with Egypt, which shares the Rafah border point with Gaza, to provide safe passage for civilians trying to flee Israeli airstrikes. 

Gazans Trying to Flee War Have Egypt Weighing Aid and Security

Biden to Release Budget Request for Added Aid (10:49 p.m.)

US President Joe Biden will make his formal request for additional foreign aid next week, the White House said. The document is expected to lay out how much funding the US is seeking for the conflicts in Ukraine and Israel – although some lawmakers have proposed also including assistance for Taiwan and the southern US border to help smooth passage.

Hamas Calls for a ‘Day of Rage’ on Friday (10:17 p.m.)

Hamas called for a “Day of Rage” and mass protests on Friday. In response, Israel’s National Security Council and Foreign Ministry warned Israelis and Jews around the world to be vigilant and stay away from the demonstrations.

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