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Israel’s military publishes map of Gaza “evacuation zones” for Palestinians as airstrikes resume in war with Hamas


The Israeli military published a map of what it called “evacuation zones” in the Gaza Strip, as it resumed fighting Friday with Hamas in the Palestinian territory after a seven-day cease-fire. Israel accused Hamas of violating the terms of the truce an hour before it was set to expire and announced a resumption of its military operations in the enclave.

Airstrikes resumed quickly, with Hamas officials in the enclave saying at least 60 people were killed. CBS News witnessed the aftermath of a strike in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where Palestinian civilians said an unknown number of people were dead and wounded.

The map created by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which is labelled in Arabic and is zoomable on the military’s website, divides the densely-populated, 25-mile-long Gaza Strip into hundreds of numbered sectors.

The Israeli military on Friday published a map of what it called “evacuation zones” in the Gaza Strip, after international demands to create safe areas where civilians can shelter from devastating bombardments.

OpenStreetMap contributors

The IDF said it was intended to enable residents to “evacuate from specific places for their safety if required.” 

Residents in multiple numbered areas were sent SMS warnings on Friday, the military said.  

“The IDF will begin a crushing military attack on your area of residence with the aim of eliminating the terrorist organization Hamas,” the warnings said, urging people in the sectors to seek shelter and “stay away from all military activity of every kind.”

Palestinian teenager Omar Hahrous speaks with CBS News at the scene of an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza, Dec. 1, 2023, right after a temporary cease-fire collapsed between Israel and Hamas.

CBS News

Around 10 minutes after the messages were sent, the explosions started. Cellular networks in the Gaza Strip can be slow, with SMS deliveries sometimes taking several minutes. 

The Gaza Health Ministry says almost 15,000 people have been killed in the region by Israel’s retaliatory ground incursion and airstrikes, sparked by Hamas’ brutal Oct. 7 terror rampage across southern Israel, during which it killed about 1,200 people and abducted more than 200 others.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on his third visit to Israel since the war began, met Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and cautioned Israel to protect civilians in Gaza.

“Israel has one of the most sophisticated militaries in the world,” Blinken told reporters. “It is capable of neutralizing the threat posed by Hamas while minimizing harm to innocent men, women and children. And it has an obligation to do so.”

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