IDF tells hospitals in Gaza to evacuate; conducts strikes on Lebanon

Hamas targets Be'er Sheva in rocket barrage after IDF says killed senior Hamas operative Ali Qadi commander of Hamas "Nukhba" commando force

Yoav Zitun, Itamar Eichner, Reuters, Matan Tzuri, Yair Kraus|Updated:
After families of captives in Gaza demonstrated outside the Defense Ministry on Saturday, demanding answers from the government, a protest bolstered by Israelis showing their support, erupted with crowds calling for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ouster. A major intersection in the area was closed.
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A man whose wife and three children were among civilians abducted to Gaza began a sit-in strike outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv and said he would remain there until they were released.
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אביחי ברודץ
אביחי ברודץ
Father of three abducted along their mother to Gaza, holds sit-in strike in Tel Aviv
Supporters and other families impacted demonstrated there, with him. "My friend was burned alive, do you understand that, one distraught woman said.
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תושבים בקריה בהפגנת תמיכה להחזרת השבויים
תושבים בקריה בהפגנת תמיכה להחזרת השבויים
Protesters supporting families of adbucted Israelis call for Netanyahu's ouster
(Photo:Janis Laizans / Reuters)
Protesters call for Netanyahu ouster
(צילום: שב"פ )

The U.S. State Department said on Saturday that it has authorized the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel and eligible family members from the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and the U.S. Branch Office in Tel Aviv "due to the unpredictable security situation in Israel," the embassy in Jerusalem, said adding the mission would remain open and its diplomats remain involved in the highest levels. The U.S. organized four flights to take Americans wishing to leave Israel to Europe, where they can catch connections to the States.
Hamas fired rockets into south and central Israel on Saturday, one week after its murderous assault on southern Israel. five people were injured including one in critical condition in rocket strikes targeting border area communities throughout the morning, following a relatively quiet night. Heavy barrages were directed at Be'er Sheva after Israel killed a senior member of Hamas, Ali Qadi, a company commander of the group's "Nukhba" force who was released from Israeli jail in the 2011 prison swap for captured Gilad Shalit.
The IDF spokesperson to the foreign press said on Saturday that Israel does not consider Gazan citizens enemies and does not target them in the strikes on Gaza. He said the military had called for them to head to the south end of the Strip to avoid casualties.
IDF drops pamphlets telling Gazans to head south

He said it was unfortunate that so many in the world's media were concentrating on the air strikes and not the atrocities committed by Hamas against innocent Israelis.
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פלסטינים תופסים מחסה בבית ספר המנוהל על ידי האו"ם בתקיפת צה"ל בעזה
פלסטינים תופסים מחסה בבית ספר המנוהל על ידי האו"ם בתקיפת צה"ל בעזה
Palestinians take cover in an UNRWA school in Gaza
(Photo: Ahmed Zakot / Reuters)
The Gaza-ruling Hamas Health Ministry said on Saturday morning that in the past 24 hours of Israeli strikes on the Strip, 324 people were killed, among them 126 children and 88 women. Around 1,000 have been injured.
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ירי רקטות מעזה
ירי רקטות מעזה
Gaza rockets fired at Israel on Saturday morning
( Photo: Mohammed Saber / EPA)
The IDF said earlier that the Air Force eliminated Merad Abu Merad, the leader of the Hamas aerial force in Gaza City, who played a significant role in orchestrating terrorist activities during last weekend's massacre.
Overnight, the military struck a Hezbollah target in Lebanon following the interception of an unidentified aircraft headed for Haifa. The aircraft was downed over the Arab city of Shfar'am in the Lower Galilee, resulting in damage but no injuries.
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חשד ליירוטים מעל הקריות
חשד ליירוטים מעל הקריות
Projectile intercepted over Haifa
Earlier, the UN said hundreds of thousands of Gazans were fleeing south after warnings to do so from Israel. Earlier reports already estimated some 400,000 had left or were displaced in the Strip. Others said they would stay. "Death is better than leaving," said Mohammad, 20, outside a building smashed by an Israeli air strike near the center of Gaza. Mosques broadcast the message: "Hold on to your homes. Hold on to your land."
A Reuters journalist, Issam Abdallah, was killed and six others were injured from cross border Israelei fire.
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Car carrying journalists burns in cross-border Israeli fire, killing Reuters journalist ssam Abdallah f
Car carrying journalists burns in cross-border Israeli fire, killing Reuters journalist ssam Abdallah f
Car carrying journalists burns in cross-border Israeli fire, killing Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah f
(Photo: Thaier Al-Sudani / Reuters)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday that Israelis were fighting to defend their home. In a short televised statement, the prime minister said Israel was striking Hamas with a force never before seen but that was just the beginning. More armament was being sent to Israel by the U.S. and the war would go on until Hamas would be defeated. He said he sees the pain of those who lost their loved ones and is amazed at the spirit and generosity of those who help and donate to meet the needs of others. He did not mention the hostages taken to Gaza in his speech.
On Friday, A 20-year-old man fatally stabbed a teacher and gravely wounded two other people in an attack at a school in the northern France city of Arras on Friday that President Emmanuel Macron condemned as "barbaric Islamic terrorism." Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said France was now on its highest state of alert and that the Arras attack bore a link to events in the Middle East.
The IDF said on Friday evening that over recent days, its forces conducted raids into Gaza to search for hostages. "IDF soldiers searched and collected evidence that would assist in the effort to locate hostages," a spokesperson for the military said adding that soldiers "thwarted terrorist cells and infrastructure located in the area, including a Hamas cell that fired anti-tank missiles toward Israeli territory"
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נפילת רקטה ברחובות
נפילת רקטה ברחובות
Rocket lands in Rehovot
(Photo: Dana Kopel)
The military said it was conducting an attack on Lebanon after an aircraft from Lebanon, infiltrated Israeli air space and was shot down. Earlier, The Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group claimed responsibility for rocket fire on the Galilee in northern Israel after Hamas said its operatives launched a long-range Ayyash 250 rocket on the north earlier.
In a barrage to central Israel, a rocket that fell in the city of Rehovot caused slight injuries to one 30-year-old woman. Tel Aviv also came under fire on Friday afternoon but no damage or injuries were reported.
Saudi Arabia announced it was putting U.S.-backed plans to normalize ties with Israel on ice, the Reuters news agency reported quoting sources. The report said Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman held his first phone call with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.
President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, and President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen, visiting Tel Aviv were rushed into a bomb shelter on Friday, during a meeting with President Issac Herzog when Hamas rockets were fired at Tel Aviv.
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נשיא המדינה יצחק הרצוג עם נשיאת נציבות האיחוד האירופי אורסולה פון דר ליין עם רוברטה מיטסולה נשיאת הפרלמנט האירופי בקריה בתל אביב
נשיא המדינה יצחק הרצוג עם נשיאת נציבות האיחוד האירופי אורסולה פון דר ליין עם רוברטה מיטסולה נשיאת הפרלמנט האירופי בקריה בתל אביב
President Issac Herzog with President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, and President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen
EU dignitaries rush to shelter in rocket strike


An explosive device detonated on the Lebanon border wall raised suspicion of an infiltration of terrorists into the area. troops were investigating while the IDF fired into South Lebanon in response to earlier rocket fire which Hamas claimed responsibility for.
The Gaza-based terrorist organization claimed to have launched a long-range Ayyash 250 rocket, purportedly having a range of 250 kilometers (150 miles). At least one projectile was intercepted by the David's Sling missile defense system near the city of Haifa. The system is designed to intercept enemy planes, drones, tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles, fired at ranges from 40 to 300 km, as opposed to its far better-known sibling, Iron Dome, which is designed to intercept short-range missiles.
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יירוטים בקריות
יירוטים בקריות
Gaza rocket near Haifa
(Photo: Yaron Drukman)
Hamas has previously deployed such a rocket into Israeli territory, directing it southward. This incident marks the farthest incursion into Israeli territory by the terrorist group to date.
The IDF on Friday afternoon declared parts of the northern town of Metula a closed military zone and advised civilians to stay away from the area.
Metula, Israel's northernmost settlement, is situated adjacent to the Lebanese border, which has seen heightened tensions since hostilities with Hamas erupted last weekend, amid threats launched by Hezbollah toward Israel.
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חיילים במטולה
חיילים במטולה
IDF soldiers in Metula
(Photo: AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Hezbollah's deputy chief said on Friday that the powerful Iran-backed group was "ready" and would "contribute" to confrontations against Israel according to its own plan, despite foreign powers asking them to stay on the sidelines.
Sheikh Naim Qassem said that major powers, Arab countries and the United Nations had "directly and indirectly" told Hezbollah "not to interfere" in ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas.
Earlier Friday, Turkey's foreign ministry urged citizens in Lebanon to stay away from the country's south because of fighting between Israeli and Palestinian forces there, and advised them to stay north of the Litani River.
In view of the developments reflecting on Lebanon's south, the ministry said on social media platform X, "It is recommended for our citizens in Lebanon to remain cautious and, if possible, stay away from regions south of the Litani river."
After a night of tense calm in southern Israel, rocket fire from the Gaza Strip resumed around noon Friday, directly striking a home in the southern city of Ashkelon. First responders reported extensive property damage but no casualties upon arriving at the scene. Rockets were also fired into Gaza border towns, the southern city of Sderot and as far north as Kiryat Ekron in central Israel.
Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin landed in Israel on a snap visit and met with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv.
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שר הביטחון יואב גלנט ומזכיר ההגנה האמריקני לויד אוסטין נפגשים כעת ב״בור״ הפיקוד בקריה
שר הביטחון יואב גלנט ומזכיר ההגנה האמריקני לויד אוסטין נפגשים כעת ב״בור״ הפיקוד בקריה
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi at the IDF HQ in Tel Aviv, Friday
(Photo: The Defense Ministry)
Speaking with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, the Pentagon chief reiterated U.S. President Joe Biden’s commitment to Israel’s security.
“We’re with you, Mr. Prime Minister, and as the president said, we have your back,” he said. “It’s an awful week… disgusting acts by this terrorist group.”
“As you know, I was the guy that initially put the ISIS campaign together and I know a lot about ISIS, and this is worse than what I saw with ISIS.”
Netanyahu thanked Austin for “the firm stance that the president, you, the American people and the American government have expressed” in support of Israel against Hamas.
The IDF issued instructions overnight on Friday for Gazans to evacuate the northern part of the Palestinian enclave within 24 hours, potentially signaling an imminent ground incursion by Israeli forces to clear out Hamas presence there.
The order means that all civilians living north of the Besor Stream (Wadi Gaza) will be required to evacuate their homes, including the entire population of Gaza City, the Jabalia refugee camp and the towns of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya, as well as several other neighborhoods.
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תו/שבי עזה מתפנים מבתיהם
תו/שבי עזה מתפנים מבתיהם
Gazans evacuating northern Gaza after Israeli warning
(Photo: MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
Stéphane Dujarric, a UN spokesperson, urged the IDF to rescind the evacuation order, asserting that the move, which would require the relocation of 1.1 million people, is impossible without causing "severe humanitarian consequences." He emphasized that the IDF's order also applies to all UN teams and civilians taking shelter in its facilities, including schools, hospitals and clinics.
Following the UN's announcement, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit released the wording of the warning conveyed to the residents. "The IDF calls for the evacuation of all civilians of Gaza City from their homes southwards for their own safety and protection and move to the area south of the Wadi Gaza, as shown on the map,” the message read.
“The Hamas terrorist organization waged a war against the State of Israel and Gaza City is an area where military operations take place. This evacuation is for your own safety. You will be able to return to Gaza City only when another announcement permitting it is made. Do not approach the area of the security fence with the State of Israel.
“Hamas terrorists are hiding in Gaza City inside tunnels underneath houses and inside buildings populated with innocent Gazan civilians. Civilians of Gaza City, evacuate south for your own safety and the safety of your families and distance yourself from Hamas terrorists who are using you as human shields. In the following days, the IDF will continue to operate significantly in Gaza City and make extensive efforts to avoid harming civilians.”
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תקיפת צה"ל ביעיר עזה
תקיפת צה"ל ביעיר עזה
IDF strike in northern Gaza
(Photo: Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images)
The army spokesperson also added, "We distributed this warning through all platforms and means to Gazans. We are committed to international law and minimizing harm to civilians - contrasting Hamas's actions, which resemble the dark days of the Islamic State. We are not fighting the residents of Gaza but Hamas, which is worse than IS. This is an event of several days, and we will act to expedite it."
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan protested the international body’s response to Israel's warning, calling it “shameful.”
"For many years, the UN has turned a blind eye to Hamas's military buildup and its use of the civilian population and civilian infrastructure in the Strip as a hiding place for its weapons and killing machinery,” he wrote on social media platform X in Hebrew. “Now, instead of standing with Israel, whose citizens have been slaughtered by Hamas terrorists and who tries to minimize harm to uninvolved parties, [the UN] preaches Israel instead."
According to Erdan, "It would be better for the UN to focus now on the return of the [Israeli] captives, condemning Hamas and supporting Israel's right to defend itself."
Meanwhile, Salama Marouf, head of the Hamas government media office, said the relocation warning was an attempt by Israel "to broadcast and pass on fake propaganda, aiming to sow confusion among citizens and harm our internal cohesion." He added, "We urge our citizens not to engage in these attempts."
The call emerges amid concerns within the terrorist group about losing leverage against Israel, given its habitual use of the civilian population as human shields. The group has frequently weaponized civilian casualties, using them as a strategic tool to critique and condemn Israel in the international arena.
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תו/שבי עזה מתפנים מבתיהם
תו/שבי עזה מתפנים מבתיהם
Gazans evacuating northern Gaza after Israeli warning
(Photo: EPA/HAITHAM IMAD)
The United Nations agency for the support of Palestinians UNRWA said Friday morning that it was relocating its operations out of the northern Gaza Strip after Israel's warning. "UNRWA relocated its central operations centre + international staff to the south to continue its humanitarian operations and support to its staff and Palestine Refugees in #Gaza," the UN agency wrote on social media platform X. "We urge the Israeli Authorities to protect all civilians in @UNRWA shelters including schools."
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said an Israeli ground operation in Gaza would result in civilian losses and that the main thing was to stop the bloodshed. Speaking in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Putin said the conflict should be resolved by peaceful means and that Russia supports a two-state solution.
Meanwhile, the Israeli military said it struck 750 military targets in northern Gaza overnight, including what it said were Hamas tunnels, military compounds, residences of senior operatives and weapons storage warehouses.
"Dozens of fighter jets struck numerous Hamas military targets in the Gaza Strip, including 12 Hamas military assets, each located in a multi-story building used by the Hamas for terror purposes," a statement read.
First published: 09:26, 10.13.23
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