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ALM Feature

Gaza residents tell stories of pain and fear as they flee Israeli bombardment

As many residents flee south, some Gazans are remaining in their homes, fearing a repeat of 1948, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians left but never returned.
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A Palestinian woman looks up as she prays in the yard of a school, in the Rafah refugee camp, in the southern of Gaza Strip on October 14, 2023, as fighting between Israel and the Hamas movement continues for the eighth consecutive day in the Gaza Strip enclave. Palestinians sought refuge on October 14, 2023, after Israel warned them to evacuate the northern Gaza Strip before an expected ground offensive against Hamas, one week after the deadliest attack in Israel's history.

Some 1.1 million residents of the northern Gaza Strip woke up Friday morning to a warning from the Israeli military instructing them to leave their homes and relocate to the southern part of the blockaded coastal enclave. The announcement caused panic and uncertainty among the population. Some perceived it as a psychological warfare tactic and others fled their homes out of fear for their safety.

The warning was published on Facebook by the Arabic-language spokesperson for the Israeli army, Avichay Adraee. “You will not be allowed to return to Gaza City except after the issuance of a statement permitting it. Approaching the fence area with Israel is prohibited,” he wrote. Later in the day, Israeli planes dropped leaflets with the same message.

Videos of individuals hurrying south on foot, by car or wagon were widely shared on social media. Some Gaza residents expressed their determination to remain in their homes and defy the Israeli directives.

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