Thursday, November 30th | 18 Kislev 5784

October 17, 2023 12:45 pm

Half a Million Israelis Displaced by Hamas War, IDF Spokesman Says


avatar by Andrew Bernard

Volunteers sort boxes of donated humanitarian supplies at a logistical center to support those impacted by the deadly infiltration by Hamas terrorists from the Gaza Strip, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Oct. 17, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad

An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman revealed on Tuesday that more than half a million Israelis have been displaced in the war with Hamas.

Speaking at a briefing on X/Twitter, Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan Conricus said the evacuations from Israeli communities near Gaza and on the border with Lebanon were a sign of the importance that the IDF placed on protecting civilians, including Gazans.

There are about half a million internally displaced Israelis at the time,” Conricus said. “And these people have either found temporary refuge with friends and family in central Israel, areas that are deemed ‘safer,’ even though they are also under constant rocket attacks and have to be in shelters, and so have other Israelis. So we’re talking about a significant humanitarian situation in Israel, hugely underreported, amid a lot of focus on Gaza.”

Conricus said “most of” Sderot and Ashkelon, two southern cities near Gaza, have been evacuated, which between them have a population of 150,000. Israel has also evacuated all the communities within 2km of Israel’s border with Lebanon amid the threat of a military escalation with the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah. Israel on Tuesday continued to carry out strikes on Hezbollah military infrastructure along the border in response to cross-border anti-tank missile fire and attempted terrorist infiltration. 

Israel has faced criticism from the UN since last week it urged civilians to leave northern Gaza and head southward ahead of an expected Israeli ground offensive. Conricus on Tuesday said that Hamas would likely try to exploit Israel’s effort to save civilian lives by trying hide among the civilian population.

“Hamas are cowards, they use anything related to humanitarian gestures and goodwill to abuse it for their military purposes,” Conricus said. “They may put down their weapons, masquerade as civilians, and then try to flee south.”

The current conflict between Israel and Hamas began earlier this month when the latter invaded the Jewish state and murdered over 1,400 Israelis. The Palestinian terror group also took about 200 hostages back to Gaza.

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