Nine Killed in Gaza Strike Following Evacuation Orders

Palestinian health officials reported that an Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis killed at least nine people on Tuesday. This occurred within a day of Israel issuing evacuation orders for parts of the city, anticipating a potential ground operation.

The overnight strike targeted a residence near the European Hospital, situated within the designated evacuation zone. While the military initially included the hospital in the evacuation orders, they later clarified that it was not. However, the hospital director stated that most patients and medical staff had already been relocated.

Sam Rose, the director of planning at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), said on Tuesday that the agency estimates approximately 250,000 individuals reside in the evacuation zone – exceeding 10% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million. This includes many who fled previous hostilities.

He added that another 50,000 individuals living outside the immediate zone might also choose to evacuate due to their proximity to the fighting. Evacuees have been instructed to seek refuge in a sprawling tent camp situated along the coast, which is already overcrowded and lacks essential services.

Israel launched its military operation in Gaza following Hamas’ October 7 attack, during which militants infiltrated southern Israel, resulting in the deaths of approximately 1,200 people – primarily civilians – and the abduction of roughly 250 individuals.

Since then, Israeli ground offensives and bombardments have claimed the lives of over 37,900 people in Gaza, according to the territory’s Health Ministry. The ministry does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its casualty figures. 

The ongoing war has significantly disrupted the flow of food, medicine, and essential goods into Gaza, leaving its inhabitants entirely reliant on aid. The top UN official has concluded that there is a “plausible risk of genocide” in Gaza – a claim vehemently denied by Israel.