Israeli officials announced on Monday that 28 border communities near Lebanon will be evacuated on immediate notice. This news further raises the fear that a second war might be about to break out between Israel and Hezbollah, Lebanon’s Shia movement.
In a joint statement issued by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the Israeli Defense Ministry, it was stated that the residents of the communities being evacuated are within 1.2 miles of the Lebanese border and will be relocated to “state-funded guesthouses.” The evacuation plan was approved by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.
The plan comes as a continuation of Israel’s conflict with Hamas in the south, which began on Oct. 7. The IDF reported that over 1,400 Israelis are known to have been killed in the attacks and the Gaza health ministry said at least 2,750 people have been killed and another 9,700 wounded as a result of retaliatory airstrikes from Israel.
In addition to this, Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, has also launched projectiles over the northern border towards Israeli targets. On Sunday, the IDF reported multiple anti-tank missiles being launched throughout the day, resulting in the death of one man in his 40s and the injury of four other civilians in Shtula, one of the communities listed for evacuation.
As the war continues, Israeli officials are urging residents in Gaza to move south however there are multiple reports Hamas is not allowing them.
An Israeli Official IDF social media account posted a phone call of a civilian in Gaza and it describes the scene. 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 Jerusalem Post (Israel’s version of the NYT) published a report seemingly verifying the phone call above. The Post reported on a video that appears to be drone footage showing blockades.
“Following the IDF’s call to the residents of the Gaza Strip to evacuate south from their homes for their own protection, the residents of the Gaza Strip began moving south from the Gaza River,” the post said below (translated by “Google”). “Hamas makes it difficult for the residents of the Gaza Strip to move on central roads and prevents the passage of vehicles on these roads.”
בעקבות קריאתו של צה”ל לתושבי רצועת עזה להתפנות דרומה מבתיהם לשם הגנתם, החלו תושבי ברצועה בתנועה דרומה מנחל עזה.
חמאס מערים קשיים על תושבי הרצועה לנוע בצירים מרכזיים ומונע מעבר כלי רכב בצירים אלו pic.twitter.com/U3FvQHXaPq
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) October 14, 2023
Moreover, the IDF has confirmed that Hamas is holding 199 Israeli hostages in Gaza, and their families have been notified accordingly.