Palestinians Flee Gaza As Israel Warns Of Air Strikes

Nearly 18 000 Palestinians fled northern Gaza on Sunday, after the Israeli military dropped off leaflets in Beit Lahiya city warning civilians to seek shelter from air strikes, reported BBC news.

“We do not wish to harm civilians in Gaza, but these civilians must know that remaining in close proximity to Hamas terrorists and infrastructures is extremely unsafe,” said the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).

The United Nations (UN) said about 17 000 people sought refuge in its facilities on Sunday. This after the UN Relief and Works Agency spokesperson, Chris Gunness tweeted it had doubled its space for displaced people from 10 000 to 20 000.

Another 800 Palestinians left the Strip through Israel’s Erez Crossing, reported the BBC.

Israeli air strikes on Sunday morning destroyed most security headquarters and police stations run by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, while Israeli troops on the ground raided a suspected rocket launch site.

Israel has struck over 1 300 sites across Gaza since the offensive began on Tuesday, in attempt to end weeks of intense rocket fire by Hamas militants. The militants have returned fire with over 800 strikes on Israel, reaching their rockets deeper into the country than ever before.

At least 172 Palestinians have been killed since Tuesday, with 77% of the deaths being civilian, according to the UN. Israel has reported only a few serious injuries.

France on Sunday again condemned the rocket attacks by the Palestinian militants, but also called on Israel to show restraint and avoid civilian casualties. This, as clashes erupted at the end of a peaceful march in Paris to protest against Israel’s bombing of innocent people, according to The Times of Israel.

Clashes erupted when protesters threw objects at police, who were forced to respond with tear gas. According to media reports, hundreds of Jews were trapped inside a synagogue in the area of the protest as people threw stones and bricks at the building.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls condemned the attack on the synagogue “in the strongest possible terms.”

“Such acts targeting places of worship are unacceptable,” he said in a statement.

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