The Israel Defense Forces on Wednesday morning continued to call on Gaza residents to temporarily relocate to the southern Gaza Strip in anticipation of an Israeli ground invasion to destroy the Hamas terrorist group.
Gazans in the northern Strip and Gaza City are being asked to evacuate towards the open areas in western Khan Yunis, around Al-Mawasi, south of Wadi Gaza.
“If necessary, humanitarian aid will be sent there,” said IDF Col. Elad Goren, head of the Civil Department of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), in a video message.
“Hamas is trying to prevent the population from evacuating northern Gaza. Hamas continues to bring destruction upon Gaza and to endanger its residents,” Goren continued, repeating Israel’s call for the 1.1 million Palestinians living in the north to evacuate southwards.
Some 400,000 people have so far heeded the initial evacuation call, according to the Hamas terror group, which controls the Gaza Strip.
Four IDF soldiers wounded in latest Hezbollah attack
Four Israeli soldiers were lightly wounded by a Hezbollah missile attack near the border town of Shtula early on Wednesday, according to the IDF. The IDF responded with artillery fire at the source of the shooting.
Hezbollah has fired at least seven missiles at northern Israeli towns and military posts over the past 24 hours. Two soldiers and a civilian were wounded on Tuesday morning in a cross-border anti-tank missile attack on the northern Israeli town of Metula—the first of three rounds of missile attacks throughout the day.
The terrorist group has been probing Israel’s northern border in the aftermath of Hamas’s Oct. 7 assault on the Jewish state, initiating a series of exchanges of fire as the IDF engages Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
Five Israelis—four soldiers and a civilian—have been killed on the northern front since the Hamas terrorist rampage in the south that left more than 1,400 people dead and 4,100 wounded, and at least 199 held hostage in Gaza.
Two more Hamas operatives killed in Israeli strikes
According to a joint statement issued by the IDF and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) on Wednesday, in the past 24 hours dozens of Hamas military targets were struck in the Gaza Strip, and two additional senior Hamas figures were killed.
The two were identified as Muhammad Alwadia, the commander of the anti-tank system of the Gaza City Brigade, and Akram Hijaz, a dealer in weapons and terror funds and an active member of the Hamas naval force. According to the statement, Hijaz had coordinated attacks in Israel.
Failed Islamic Jihad rocket hits Gaza hospital
A rocket fired at Israel by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group overnight Tuesday went off course and struck the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, according to the IDF. Hamas sources reported that hundreds were killed in the blast, which was initially blamed on an Israeli airstrike.
“Intelligence from multiple sources we have indicates that the PIJ organization is responsible for the failed launch that hit the hospital,” stated IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.
“An analysis of IDF operational systems indicates that a barrage of rockets was fired by terrorists in Gaza, passing in close proximity to the hospital at the time it was hit,” Hagari added.
Hagari said that radar identified ongoing rocket fire at the same time that the blast occurred and that intercepted communications between terrorist groups indicated that PIJ had fired the rockets.
The army had determined that there were no air force, ground or naval attacks in the area at the time of the blast, he said.
Hagari also shared aerial footage from a military drone that showed the blast was not consistent with Israeli weaponry, and that the explosion occurred in the building’s parking lot.
“The entire world should know: It was barbaric terrorists in Gaza that attacked the hospital in Gaza, and not the IDF,” wrote Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Those who brutally murdered our children also murder their own children.”
Americans warned not to travel to Lebanon
The U.S. State Department has raised its travel warning for Lebanon to the highest level, warning Americans not to visit the country “due to the unpredictable security situation related to rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges between Israel and Hezbollah or other armed militant factions.”
Increased to Level 4: Do Not Travel, the advisory also warns of “terrorism, civil unrest, armed conflict, crime, kidnapping, and Embassy Beirut’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens.”
After the Gaza hospital blast on Tuesday night, which Hamas falsely attributed to an Israeli airstrike, protests erupted throughout the region.
Hundreds of demonstrators in Beirut chanting “death to Israel” and “death to America” made their way to the U.S. embassy north of the Lebanese capital in the suburb of Awkar—breaking through security barriers, scuffling with Lebanese security forces, throwing stones and setting a building on fire.
Hezbollah on Tuesday night called for a “day of rage” on Wednesday over the Gaza hospital explosion.
“Let tomorrow, Wednesday, be a day of rage against the enemy,” Hezbollah said in a statement, calling the alleged strike a “massacre” and “brutal crime” and calling on fellow Muslims and Arabs to “move immediately to streets and squares to express intense anger.”