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Israel-Palestine war: Israel to identify civilians as 'terrorist partners' if they stay in northern Gaza

The Israeli army issues a new warning to Palestinians living in the northern part of the Gaza Strip
The Israeli military dropped leaflets telling residents they would be identified as "a partner in a terrorist organisation" if they didn't follow forced displacement orders (Screenshot/X)

​The Israeli military has informed Palestinians in Gaza that they would be identified as "a partner in a terrorist organisation" if they didn't follow forced displacement orders and move south.

The threatening leaflets, which were dropped by drones on Saturday, come after Israel ordered 1.1 million residents in the northern part of the Gaza Strip to move to the south, with no guarantee of safety or return.

The leaflets are addressed to residents of Gaza and read: "Urgent warning! To the residents of Gaza - your presence north of Wadi Gaza is putting your lives at risk. Anyone who chooses not to evacuate from the north of the Gaza Strip to the south of the Gaza Strip may be identified as a partner in a terrorist organisation."

Israel's bombardment along with the ejection orders, which have been decried as a crime against humanity and a blatant violation of international humanitarian law by a UN expert, have led to the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. However, many refuse to leave their homes despite the threat of bombing.

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Israel's relentless campaign in Gaza over the past 15 days has killed more than 4,385 people, 70 percent of whom are children, women and elderly people. In the same period, 1,400 people in Israel were killed by Palestinian armed groups. 

The latest Israeli warning comes as the military says it's preparing to launch a ground invasion of Gaza, while keeping water, food, fuel and electricity supplies completely cut off from the besieged strip for nearly two weeks.

This is not the first time Israel has used drones to drop leaflets demanding that residents in Gaza leave their homes.

Last week, leaflets were dropped in northern Gaza, warning citizens to leave their homes in the north and head south of Wadi Gaza.

"Gaza has been transformed into a battlefield," the leaflet read. "For your safety, you must not return to your homes until further notice."

Private homes a 'legitimate target'

On Saturday, a senior Israeli official also said that the definition of what constitutes a "legitimate target" has now changed and that private homes could be considered a legitimate target.

According to the official, civilian infrastructure that he claimed is being "used by Hamas" turns "a private home into a legitimate target".

"Anyone who supports that home is a legitimate target," he added, as reported in Israeli media. 

The official also acknowledged that the Israeli army has attacked homes where civilians are living among alleged Hamas members.

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The Euro-Med human rights monitor said that over a quarter of the area of Gaza City and northern Gaza has been affected by the destruction and that 20 percent of houses there are no longer fit for habitation. 

The Beit Hanoun neighbourhood, located on the outskirts of the northern Gaza Strip, is the most severely affected, with approximately 60 percent of its buildings either destroyed or heavily damaged.

The rights monitor states that these figures are not final, with the numbers likely to grow as Israel continues its bombardment.

Amnesty International has documented several unlawful attacks carried out by Israel, including indiscriminate bombing, which have caused mass casualties that the organisation says must be investigated as war crimes.

The UN has also condemned Israel's bombing of civilian infrastructure and the shelling of densely populated areas.

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