Palestinians ordered to go south as Israel storms Gazan neighbourhood

Israeli tanks stormed a neighbourhood in Gaza City telling Palestinians to move south after bombs were dropped overnight, residents and medics say.

The Shejaia neighbourhood was taken by surprise, according to residents, who said tanks rolled in and fired in the early afternoon on Thursday, with drones attacking after earlier bombing.

The Palestinian Civil Emergency Service said there were reports of people killed and wounded, but their teams were unable to reach them because of the ongoing offensive.

Three people were reported killed there in the earlier bombing, with five killed in the Sabra neighbourhood, about 2km west of Shejaia.

"It sounded as if the war is restarting, a series of bombings that destroyed several houses in our area and shook the buildings," Mohammad Jamal, 25, told Reuters news agency from Gaza City.

Israel accuses the militants of hiding among civilians and said it warns displaced people to get out of the way of its operations against the fighters.

'Evacuate immediately'

"To all residents and displaced people in the Shejaiya area and the new neighbourhoods... for your safety, you must evacuate immediately south on Salah al-Din Street to the humanitarian zone," army spokesperson Avichay Adraee posted on X.

Residents and Hamas media said tanks had rolled in before the post and people from the eastern suburb were running west under fire as Israel had blocked the road south.

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There was no other immediate comment from the Israeli military.

In the southern Gazan city of Rafah, unverified drone footage showed dozens of houses destroyed, with the Swedeya village on the western side of the city completely wiped out.

There was no Israeli military comment on the overnight military action either.

'We are being starved'

More than eight months into Israel's war on Gaza, triggered by the Hamas-led attack on 7 October, aid officials say the enclave remains at high risk of famine.

More than 495,000 people across Gaza are facing the most severe, or "catastrophic", level of food insecurity, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification.

That is down from a forecast of 1.1 million in the previous update three months ago, but is still more than one fifth of Gaza's population.

"We are being starved in Gaza City and are being hunted by tanks and planes with no hope that this war is ever ending," Mr Jamal said.

The death of another girl late on Wednesday raised the number of children who have died of malnutrition and dehydration to at least 31, a Gaza health official said.

Israel denies accusations it has created famine conditions, blaming aid agencies for distribution problems and accusing Hamas of diverting aid, allegations the militants deny.

Israel's retaliation, sparked by a Hamas-led attack on 7 October that Israelis say killed around 1,200 people and resulted in more than 250 hostages, has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza's health ministry.