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Israel army tells all Gaza City residents to flee heavy battles

GAZA STRIP (AFP) – The Israeli army dropped thousands of leaflets over Gaza City yesterday urging all residents to flee a heavy offensive that has rocked the main city of the besieged Palestinian territory.

The leaflets, addressed to “everyone in Gaza City”, set out designated escape routes to the south and warned that the urban area, previously home to more than half a million people, would “remain a dangerous combat zone”.

Elsewhere across Gaza, deadly strikes have hit four schools used as shelters in four days, sparking international outrage.

The upsurge in fighting and displacement came as mediator Qatar was due to resume talks toward a truce and hostage release deal to end the war.

The latest fighting in Gaza has newly displaced 350,000 civilians, said UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini, who spoke before the latest leaflet drop and said “there is absolutely no safe space in Gaza”.

One woman carrying her scant belongings through the bombed-out wasteland, Nimr al-Jamal, told AFP on Tuesday that “this is the 12th time” her family has had to flee.

Smoke rising over Gaza. PHOTO: AFP