Amid a looming ground assault by Israel on the Gaza Strip, its defence forces has claimed that Hamas was not letting the civilians in the densely populated territory flee south towards a closed border with Egypt. The Israel Defence Forces today released an alleged telephonic conversation with a Gazan who was heard saying, “They (Hamas) are preventing people from leaving.”
The Israel Defence Forces or IDF while releasing the audio with subtitles on its X handle, wrote, “A Gaza resident trying to evacuate southward tells an IDF Intelligence Officer about how Hamas is not letting them leave”.
Listen to this phone call.
A Gaza resident trying to evacuate southward tells an IDF Intelligence Officer about how Hamas is not letting them leave. pic.twitter.com/R9purqIZhs
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) October 15, 2023
The alleged conversation between the Gaza resident and an IDF intelligence officer:
Gazan: They are preventing people from leaving
IDF Officer: Tell me where it is that they stopped you
Gazan: Those who are here near the agency. They are taking (away) the ID card and the car keys
IDF Officer: You mean the movement? Hamas?
IDF Officer: Who is stopping you? Hamas?
Gazan: Yes, yes
Hamas has urged people not to leave, saying roads out are unsafe. The group’s chief Ismail Haniyeh has said the Palestinians would “remain in our land” even as thousands of residents in the enclave that is home to more than two million people reported to have fled their homes since Israel began its bombardment.
Israel claims Hamas is preventing people from leaving in order to use them as human shields.
The surprise Hamas assault in which its operatives stormed through Israeli towns a week ago launched the region into a new crisis as Israeli leaders now prepare to respond with crushing force.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to “demolish Hamas” as his troops prepared to move into the Gaza Strip.
The only route out of Gaza not under Israeli control was a checkpoint with Egypt at Rafah. Egypt officially says its side is open, but traffic has been halted for days because of Israeli strikes.
Inside the city, conditions are deteriorating and deaths from Israeli strikes are rising. Working amid a pile of bodies, Palestinian health workers are storing bodies in ice cream freezer trucks because moving them to hospitals is too risky and cemeteries are full.
More than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel since the attack unleashed last week while the death count from Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip surged to at least 2,670.