Israel Latest: Army Urges More People to Move to South of Gaza

The Israeli military said it would allow safe movement to Gaza residents on several roads on Saturday as it urged them to evacuate from the north of the territory to the south.

(Bloomberg) — The Israeli military said it would allow safe movement to Gaza residents on several roads on Saturday as it urged them to evacuate from the north of the territory to the south.

Israel’s forces are focusing their main activities on Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip, as they continue their war against Hamas following its devastating attacks a week ago. Israeli troops are preparing for whatever orders they get next, a spokesperson said.

Israel is widely expected to launch a ground invasion of Gaza as it looks to wipe out Hamas, which is backed by Iran and designated a terrorist group by the US. Overnight, Israel continued airstrikes on Gaza, which have killed more than 1,500 Palestinians in the past week. Hamas’s incursion into southern Israel last weekend killed 1,300 Israelis.

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(All time stamps are Israeli time)

IDF Allows Some Safe Movement in Gaza to Allow Evacuation (10 a.m.)

The Israeli military said it would allow safe movement to Gaza residents on several major roads between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. local time on Saturday. It wants civilians to move from Gaza City in the north to the south of the territory.

“Take advantage of this short time to move south — from Beit Hanoun to Khan Yunis,” a spokesperson said in Arabic on X.

UN Calls Israel Army’s Evacuation Order in Gaza ‘Impossible’ 

The military blamed Hamas for trying to prevent civilians leaving Gaza City and said the group was trying to use them as “human shields.” The UN has said an evacuation of northern Gaza would mean the movement of 1.1 million people and is “impossible.”

Israel Says It Kills Senior Hamas Commander (8:15 a.m.)

Israel said it killed Hamas’s head of aerial systems for Gaza City, Merad Abu Merad, in an airstrike. He was, Israel says, in large part responsible for directing last Saturday’s attacks.

The Israel Defense Forces said he was killed when jets struck operational headquarters used by Hamas. The group hasn’t confirmed his death.

Overnight, Israeli fighter jets conducted wide-scale strikes throughout the Gaza Strip, the IDF said.

Israeli Military Focuses on Gaza City (7:05 a.m.)

“Gaza City is where the focus and the hub of Hamas activities are,” Jonathan Conricus, a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces, said, referring to the urban area in the north of the Gaza Strip. “That’s where most of their commanders are.”

Troops, he said, are “all around the Gaza Strip” and preparing for whatever orders come next. He reiterated that Israel’s order for civilians to evacuate from the north of Gaza to the south was to get them out of danger.

“We’ve seen a significant movement of Palestinian civilians toward the south,” he said. “We’ve seen people listening to our warning. They’re doing the clever thing, moving out of a dangerous area.”

The situation on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon — where Hezbollah, another Iran-funded militant group, is based — remains “very tense,” Conricus said.

Oil Posted Large Weekly Gain, Shekel Fell (7 a.m.)

Oil posted its biggest weekly gain in a month after Iran said a new front in the conflict between Israel and Hamas was possible. Traders also covered bearish bets ahead of a widely expected invasion of Gaza.

Oil Jumps $5 in Volatile Week as Risk of War Engulfs Middle East

West Texas Intermediate climbed above $87 a barrel, cementing a $5 weekly gain. Brent rose to just below $91.

The shekel fell 3.3% over the week to 3.976 per dollar, its weakest on a closing basis in more than seven years. The currency’s drop came despite a huge support package the central bank announced on Monday.

Israel at War Transmits Market Risk Across Skittish Middle East

China, EU Discuss Middle East Tensions (5:30 a.m.)

The Middle East was one of the most important topics in the latest talks between the European Union and China, top EU diplomat Josep Borrell said Saturday at the end of his trip to the Asian nation.

Talk of War Dominates Annual Gathering of Global Finance Chiefs

Both sides agreed the only long-term solution to the Palestinian issue is a two-state plan, Borrell said. While Israel has a right to defend itself, “like any right, it has a limit,” which in this case is international humanitarian law, he said.

It is “utterly, utterly impossible to implement” an evacuation of Gaza, he added.

Israel Hits Hezbollah Sites in Lebanon (3:50 a.m.) 

Israel said strikes had been carried out on Hezbollah posts in southern Lebanon in response to “unidentified” objects that had entered northern Israeli airspace hours earlier.

Israeli Poll Shows Netanyahu’s Popularity Drops as Gantz Surges

The objects were shot down by unmanned Israeli aircraft, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement on Friday night. Hezbollah, a militia and political party that is backed by Iran, said earlier that it was prepared to act against Israel over its war in Gaza. The US designates Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

New York, Florida, Other States Buy Bonds (2 a.m.)

Several US states have purchased Israeli bonds as the country looks to raise funds. The purchases include $20 million from the New York State Common Retirement Fund.

US States Buy Israeli Bonds in Show of Support Amid Hamas War

“We have confidence in the spirit of innovation and tenacity of Israeli people and in the strength of our investments there,” New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a statement Friday. Public finance officials in Ohio, Florida, Texas and Illinois have also announced their own debt purchases.

Pro-Palestinian Protesters March in Manhattan (1:10 a.m.)

A pro-Palestine rally in Times Square drew thousands of protesters, who then marched to the Israeli consulate. 

The event, which also drew a smaller counter-protest, drew a significant police presence and has so far been without major incident. Some videos posted to social media show clashes between opposing demonstrators being broken up by the police.

Biden Says US Will ‘Surge’ Humanitarian Aid to Gaza (10:32 p.m.)

President Joe Biden said the US is coordinating with Arab countries and the United Nations to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza as Israel has warned Palestinians to flee ahead of an expected ground attack.

Biden said officials were communicating with the governments of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, among others, to “surge support” and humanitarian assistance.

“The overwhelming majority of Palestinians had nothing to do with Hamas, and Hamas’s appalling attacks, and they’re suffering as a result as well,” Biden said.

Foreigners May Be Allowed Brief Window to Leave Gaza, Canada Says (10:05 p.m.)

Foreign citizens in Gaza may have a brief window to leave through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt on Saturday, a Canadian government official said. 

Julie Sunday, a foreign affairs department official, told reporters there is a potential departure window between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. local time, and said the Canadian government is working with Israel and Egypt to get individuals approved to leave.

She emphasized it is not yet guaranteed the crossing will be open, and said people should not go there until they are told they have clearance. Canadian officials said about 150 people in Gaza have registered with the government, though some are of mixed families.

Israel Army Carries Out Local Raids in Gaza (7:21 p.m.)

Israel’s army said it has carried out local raids in Gaza in the past 24 hours in an effort to locate hostages and eliminate threats.

In a statement, Israel Defense Forces said they searched and collected evidence that would assist in the effort to locate hostages. Soldiers also thwarted cells and infrastructure in the area.

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