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Thousand of Palestinians flee Gaza on foot



Thousands of Palestinians have left northern Gaza on foot, waving white flags and moving southwards in search of refuge that has become increasingly elusive as Israel pounds the entire enclave with air strikes.

The United Nations said on Wednesday that 15,000 Palestinians had fled northern Gaza the day before, using the main traffic artery, Salah al-Din Road. This was three times the figure estimated on Monday.

The Israeli military gave residents of northern Gaza a four-hour window to leave on Wednesday.

“It’s difficult to get information for an ongoing military operation, but people we’re speaking to in Gaza say they’re seeing Israeli troops setting up positions and posts in buildings nearby,” Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher said.

“At the same time, we’re seeing thousands of people moving south – not car convoys. They’re walking. They’re waving white flags, fearing being attacked. They’re moving together in large groups – believing there could be some safety in numbers – in a desperate journey south to a future they have no idea what it holds,” Fisher reported.

He cited the Israeli army as saying there were about 100,000 people left in the northern Gaza Strip, compared with the previous one million.

“The Israeli army says when it’s in Gaza this is all about ‘tightening the noose’ on Hamas, that it is going to target Hamas infrastructure and weapons facilities. It is going to hit as hard as it can any Hamas fighters they find.”

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