Palestinians in are bracing for an imminent ground offensive by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) intended to stamp out the Islamist group Hamas, which is deemed a terrorist organization by the US, the EU, Germany and a number of other countries.
It comes a week after Hamas that killed more than 1,300 Israelis and saw dozens more kidnapped and taken hostage.
“Battalions and soldiers are deployed all over the country and are prepared to increase readiness for the next stages of the war — with an emphasis on a significant ground operation,” the IDF said in a statement on Saturday evening.
While workers at an Israeli military base continued efforts to identify the dead on the Jewish Sabbat, Israeli armed forces dropped leaflets directing Palestinians in Gaza City to flee south.
An estimated tens of thousands of Palestinians scrambled to evacuate Gaza City over the weekend.
On Sunday, others took refuge near hospitals in the hope they would be spared from the fighting.
Fuel, water and medical supplies are in short supply .
Earlier, on Friday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the week of strikes on Gaza was “only the beginning.”
The United Nations has warned that a mass exodus in the densely-populated Gaza Strip with no could present a “catastrophic situation.”
Gaza authorities said more than 2,200 people have been killed, a quarter of them children, while nearly 10,000 have been wounded.
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