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Palestinians scrambled to flee northern Gaza on Saturday after Israel ordered nearly half the population to flee south and carried out limited ground forays ahead of an expected land invasion.

Israel has ordered more than a million people to flee, including the entire population of Gaza City, despite warnings from the UN and aid groups that such an exodus would cause untold human suffering, with hospital patients and others unable to relocate.

Families in cars, trucks and donkey carts packed with their possessions crowded a main road heading southward from Gaza City as Israeli airstrikes continued to hammer the besieged territory. 

Hamas's media office said warplanes struck cars fleeing south, killing more than 70 people. Israel's week-long campaign of bombing in Gaza has so far killed over 2,200 people in the besieged strip.

The Israeli military said its troops conducted temporary raids into Gaza to battle militants and hunted for traces of some 150 people – including men, women and children – abducted in Hamas's surprise 7 October attack that killed more than 1,300 people in Israel.

In urging the evacuation, Israel's military said it planned to target underground Hamas hideouts around Gaza City.

But Palestinians and some Egyptian officials fear that Israel ultimately aims to push Gaza's people out through the southern border with Egypt. The New Arab Staff 


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