Israel ordered the evacuation of Khan Yunis, the second largest city in Gaza.

Khan Yunis, Gaza Strip (APP) – The Israeli army ordered a mass evacuation of Palestinians from most of the Khan Yunis area on Monday, a sign that troops are continuing to expand the Gaza Strip. A new ground attack on the second largest city is likely.

The order suggests Khan Younis will be the latest target of Israel's attacks on parts of Gaza it has previously attacked in the war, as it seeks to regroup Hamas militants. A large part of Khan Younis was destroyed. In a long attack earlier this year, but A large number It belonged to the Palestinians. Got behind to avoid another Israeli attack in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

The evacuation came after Israel released the director of Gaza's largest hospital after holding him for seven months without charge or trial. Israel has alleged that the hospital was used as a command center for Hamas, which it and other Palestinian health officials have denied. The doctor said that he and other prisoners have been detained. Harsh conditions and violence.

The decision to release Muhammad Abu Salmiya raised questions about the claims surrounding Israel. Shifa HospitalOn which the Israeli forces have raided twice since the beginning. War with Hamas. The hospital remained. Severely damaged After raids.

AP correspondent Charles D. Ledesma reports that Israel has released dozens of Palestinians it had detained.

Abu Salmiya's release caused a stir in Israel's political arena. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office called it “a serious mistake”. Government ministers and opposition leaders expressed outrage and insisted that Abu Salmiya played a role in Hamas's alleged use of the hospital – although Israeli security services rarely release prisoners unilaterally if they find them. Suspicion of connection with militants.

Evacuation of Khan Younis

Monday's evacuation order covered the eastern half of Khan Yunis and a large part of the southeastern corner of the Gaza Strip. Earlier in the day, the military said a barrage of rockets from Gaza had been fired from Khan Yunis.

As night fell, streams of civilians on foot accompanied a steady stream of vehicles as people began to leave the evacuation zone. A woman drags a rolling suitcase with a little girl on top. Others had some essentials – mattresses, clothes, plastic buckets for washing, an electric fan. The trucks were piled with goods and furniture.

“We received a message on our mobile phone,” said Zainab Abu Jazr, a homeless woman, choking back tears. “Look at these kids, how they drive. We haven't got a car to ride in.

Israel asked the people to go there MosesA coastal area designated by the Israeli military as a safe zone is crowded with people. Unhealthy Tent camp.

The order said that a new attack on Khan Younis was imminent. Israeli forces fought for weeks in Khan Yunis earlier this year. And took it backHamas claimed to have destroyed the battalion. But in other places where the military has made similar claims, new raids have underscored Hamas' capabilities.

Last week, the army ordered a withdrawal from the Shajaiya district in northern Gaza, and heavy fighting has continued since then.


Palestinians displaced by Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip walk through a street market in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip, Saturday, June 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Jihad Al Shrafi)

Netanyahu said on Monday that the army was “making progress towards ending the destruction phase of the terrorist army of Hamas.” But he said the forces “will continue to target their remnants moving forward.”

Further fighting in the Khan Yunis area could further cut off Palestinian access to much-needed drinking water. The evacuation zone includes a water line that Israel installed after criticism of water cuts to the Strip early in the war.

Also in the zone is the area around the Karim Shalom crossing, the main supply route to southern Gaza, and a supply route within the area that Israel has asked to protect.

Most of Gaza's population of 2.3 million have fled their homes, many of them displaced multiple times. Israeli sanctions, fighting and the breakdown of public order have hampered the delivery of humanitarian aid, raising fears of widespread hunger and famine.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the new evacuation order “only demonstrates once again that there is no safe place for Palestinian citizens in Gaza”. “This is another stop in the deadly circular movement that the population of Gaza is constantly going through,” he said in a statement calling for a cease-fire.

Release of Director of Shifa Hospital

The decision to release Abu Salmiya and 54 other Palestinians back to Gaza was aimed at freeing up space in overcrowded detention centers. Since the beginning of the war, Israeli forces have detained thousands of Palestinians from Gaza and the occupied West Bank. Many are being held without charge or trial in what is known as administrative detention.

“Our detainees have been subjected to all kinds of torture behind bars,” Abu Salmiya told a news conference. “There was almost daily violence.”

He said guards used batons to beat detainees and terrorized them with dogs. He said some prisoners had their limbs amputated due to poor medical care. He said his head bled from the beating and the guards broke his finger.

The allegations could not be independently verified but are consistent with other accounts of Palestinians who have been held in Israeli custody. There was no immediate response from the Prison Service, which has denied similar allegations.

The Israeli army raided. Shifa Hospital In November, Hamas alleged that a vast command and control center had been built inside. Abu Salmiya and other staff denied the allegations and accused Israel of recklessly endangering thousands of patients and displaced people sheltering there. Abu Salmiya was detained on November 22.

After their first raid on Shifa Hospital, the army uncovered a tunnel underneath it that led to two empty rooms as well as evidence that militants had brought injured hostages into the facility. But The evidence was reduced Showing a broad base as claimed. Israel has since raided other hospitals in Gaza under similar allegations, forcing them to close or dramatically reduce services.

Amid the uproar over Abu Selmiya's release, Israeli state agencies responsible for the detention scrambled to shift blame.

Netanyahu's office said Abu Selimiya “remains in prison” and the prime minister has ordered a full review of how the release took place. It said the decision was “taken without the knowledge of the political leadership or heads of organizations.”

Israel's far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who controls the country's police and prison service, blamed the Defense Ministry.

Defense Minister Yves Gallant's office said the release of the prisoners was the responsibility of the prison service and the Shin Bet's internal security agency. The prison service said the decision was made by the Shin Bet and the military, and issued a document ordering his release, signed by an army reserve general.

The Shin Bet said Abu Salmiya had passed a risk assessment “compared to other prisoners”. It said the government had decided against its advice to release prisoners who were determined to be less of a risk of being evacuated.

Israel launched its offensive on October 7 following a Hamas attack, in which Palestinian militants killed nearly 1,200 people and took 250 hostages in southern Israel. Israel has killed at least 37,900 Palestinians in its campaign, according to Gaza's health ministry, without specifying how many were civilians or combatants.


Magdi reported from Cairo and Frankel from Jerusalem. Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press correspondent at the United Nations, contributed.


Follow AP's coverage of the war in Gaza.

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