GAZA CITY: Israel’s air force dropped leaflets across several districts of Gaza City on Tuesday urging people to evacuate their homes “immediately” amid fears of an imminent ground invasion.
“For your own safety, you are required to immediately evacuate your homes and move toward Gaza City centre,” the one-page Arabic-language leaflet said.
The message pointed residents to specific roads they must use to move out of neighbourhoods in question which form a crescent around the southern half of the city centre.
Among the neighbourhoods named in the leaflet were Sheikh Ajlin, Tel al-Hawa, Rimal, Zeitun, Shejaiya-Turkman and Shejaiya-Jadida.
The message gave no reason for the order, but pledged that everyone who complied would be safe.
“This is a temporary confrontation. In the end, everyone will go home,” the leaflet said on the seventh-day of Israel’s fiercest assault on the coastal enclave in four years.
“In keeping with Israel Defence Force (army) regulations, all civilians will be kept from harm’s way.”
The leaflet was scattered from the air as Hamas militants fired a rocket towards Jerusalem which landed 15 kilometres south of the city, sparking panic in the city as residents ran for cover.
It comes as Israel weighs whether to expand its aerial campaign into a ground incursion or agree to an Egyptian ceasefire which is being put together through indirect talks with Israel and Hamas officials in Cairo.
Earlier on Tuesday, a senior Israeli official said the leadership had decided to postpone a decision on a ground operation “to give diplomacy a chance to succeed.”
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