Fierce fighting rocks north and south Gaza as hundreds of thousands flee

Thousands fled northern Gaza on Monday as renewed shelling pounded areas where Israel says Hamas militants have regrouped, despite having announced them cleared months ago.

"The army dropped leaflets and sent a message on mobile phones warning everyone to leave Jabalia," said Umm Odai Nassar, after reaching Gaza City from nearby Jabalia refugee camp in the far north of the Gaza Strip.

She is one among many Palestinians who had remained in northern Gaza despite the vast devastation to civilian infrastructure inflicted during the early months of Israel's military campaign against Hamas in the territory.

Israel said on Saturday it was operating again in the Jabalia camp to counter Hamas attempts to reestablish its military capabilities in the area.

Since then, AFP correspondents have reported battles there and in Gaza City's Zeitun neighbourhood. Hamas has said it engaged in clashes with Israel near Gaza City.

The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said its estimate until this week showed about 250,000 people living in north Gaza.

"This is not the first time we have been displaced. Every time we try to return and settle, there is an invasion operation, and the army with its airplanes and tanks bombards the houses and kills people," Nassar said.

'From place to place'

"We move from place to place, and the shelling is ongoing," he said from Gaza City.


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