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A Change of plans? Evacuation notice for residents of Gaza City

IDF forces at Shifa. Source: IDF website

On Wednesday, the IDF Spokesperson in Arabic issued a special announcement, demanding that residents of the deep neighborhoods of Gaza City (Shati, Rimael, Tafah, and others) evacuate immediately southward – toward the Deir al-Balah refugee camp in the central refugee camps, across the Netzarim corridor controlled by IDF forces. Such an eviction notice may indicate the intention of IDF forces to operate in these neighborhoods soon, yet may be a threat for intimidation purposes only.

On the one hand, in recent days, the IDF has increased its offensive activity in the Gaza City area, when the 98th Division attacked the neighborhood of Shajaiya in the east of the city from the Israeli border, while the 99th Division has begun in recent days an attack on the southwest Sabra neighborhood, from the direction of the Netzarim corridor. As part of the two activities, so far, nearly 200 terrorists have been killed in clashes with IDF soldiers, and many attack tunnels have been destroyed, along with infrastructure that Hamas has tried to renew in the six months since the IDF moved to the city for the first time. In this perspective, the IDF may be seeking to exploit the success of Gaza City and deepen the achievement by operating in the other neighborhoods of the city.

On the other hand, this is inconsistent with the IDF and the government’s announcements in recent weeks regarding a transition approaching Phase III of the war – in which the IDF will transition from a maneuvering approach to a targeted raid approach, and will turn most of its power to the Northern Front. There may be another possibility – that this is a move aimed at increasing pressure on Hamas in light of the breakthroughs now marked in the negotiations to release the hostages. The IDF hides its true intentions well, and it can be profited from any kind of advancement.

 

 

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