Gaza City: Israel is urging Gazans to leave their homes “immediately”, with its air force dropping flyers across the city, in a move that suggests Tel Aviv is likely to launch a ground operation to invade Gaza.
“For your own safety, you are required to immediately evacuate your homes and move toward Gaza City centre,” the leaflet, which is written in Arabic, said.
The move came after Hamas’s top military commander Mohammed Deif warned that Israel will “pay a heavy price” if it launches a ground operation in the Gaza Strip.
“The enemy will pay a heavy price if it thinks of entering Gaza,” he said in a radio message carried by Hamas television station al Aqsa.
Earlier, senior Israeli ministers decided overnight to hold off from launching a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip to give Egyptian-led truce efforts a chance to work, a senior Israeli official said.
“A decision was taken that for the time being there is a temporary hold on the ground incursion to give diplomacy a chance to succeed,” he told AFP.