This morning, following the previously reported ground incursion by Israeli special forces in northern Gaza, the Israel military was kind enough to advice locals in Gaza to evacuate ahead of a major shelling round. What follows is the full text of a leaflet dropped by the Israeli military in the town of Beit Lahiya, near the border with Israel.
"To the residents of Beit Lahiya,
The IDF intends to attack terrorists and terror infrastructures in the area east of Al-Atatra and Al-Salatin St., and in the area west and north of Ma'bscar Jabalyia. Israel is currently attacking, and will continue to attack, every area from which rockets are being launched at its territory.
The civilians are requested to evacuate their residences immediately and move by 12:00 PM today, south of Jabalyia Al-Badr via Shar'a Al-Faluja.
The IDF's campaign is to be short and temporary. Those who fail to comply with the instructions will endanger their lives and the lives of their families.
As a result, it is not surprising that after the leaflet paradrop, thousands promptly evacuated their homes ahead of the threatened attacks in a what is now a six day mini war which according to Palestine has killed at least 160 people, and where some 70% of the casualties are civilians including 27 children as of the most recent count.
More from Reuters:
At least 4,000 people fled Beit Lahiya and crowded into eight U.N.-run schools in Gaza City on Sunday, a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency said.
Some arrived on donkey carts filled with children, luggage and mattresses, while others came by car or taxi. One man, still in his pajamas, said some residents had received phone calls warning them to clear out.
"What could we do? We had to run in order to save the lives of our children," said Salem Abu Halima, 25, a father of two.
In the meantime, Hamas - obviously - has continued its own shelling of Israel. As Reuters reports, a long-range salvo on Sunday morning triggered air raid sirens at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion international airport, which has not been hit in the hostilities and where flights have been operating normally, and some city suburbs.
On Saturday night, Hamas - the Islamist movement that rules Gaza - made good on a threat to send rockets streaking toward Tel Aviv at 9 p.m. (2.00 p.m. EDT) and other areas in heavily populated central Israel.
Hundreds of thousands of Israelis sought shelter as Palestinians in the streets of Gaza City cheered the launchings, the biggest strike yet on the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.
Those rockets and the ones unleashed on Sunday were intercepted by the Israeli-built, and partly U.S.-funded, Iron Dome missile defense system that has proved effective against Hamas's most powerful weaponry.
And yet, just to once again put the death toll in perspective, once again:
- Palestinian killed as of yesterday (per UN): 126, as of today (per Palestinian officials): 160
- Israel (so far): 0
In short: the bombing will continue until somehow the US manages to broker another ceasefire (not very likely), or will escalate, especially if Israel once again manages to drag Iran into the conflict...
- ISRAEL'S NETANYAHU SAYS IRAN FINANCING, ARMING HAMAS
- IRAN MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO GET FISSIONABLE MATERIAL: NETANYAHU
... as now appears to be the desired Israeli strategy.