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Gaza's Salah al-Din highway 'road of death in every sense of the word'

Palestinians recount their harrowing journey along Salah al-Din Road, the route Israel designated for safe passage from northern Gaza.
Palestinian citizens displaced from Gaza City to the southern Gaza Strip on Salah al-Din Street in the Al-Mughraqa area on Nov. 10, 2023 in Gaza.

RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Israeli tanks stood at the ready, their cannons aimed in the direction of the displaced people traveling on foot, the road too badly damaged from bombing for donkey-drawn carts or cars to navigate. The bodies of women, men and children lie scattered among them — in the middle of the road, on sidewalks — as they passed. More bodies occupied otherwise abandoned vehicles. The stench of death filled the air.

That is what Khamis Mansour saw along Salah al-Din Road, the main north–south highway running the length of Gaza, connecting major cities and towns. Israeli officials had designated the route a safe passage for Gazans fleeing their homes in the north, but Mansour calls it the “passage of death.”

The Israeli army, amid its ongoing offensive in northern Gaza, had told people to evacuate to the south and last week announced that it would allow civilians safe passage via Salah al-Din Road for three hours daily, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. local time. The route has since become the conduit for a massive wave of Palestinian displacement.

Three of those displaced spoke to Al-Monitor, recounting their harrowing journey along Salah al-Din Road.

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