Gaza civilians have vowed they would rather die than leave their homes after Israel gave them 24 hours before launching an all-out assault.
While some heeded the call to leave, by Friday afternoon there was little sign of a mass exodus, despite the UN warning the area is ‘fast becoming a hellhole’.
‘Death is better than leaving,’ said Mohammad, 20, standing in the street outside a building reduced to rubble in an Israeli air strike two days ago near the centre of Gaza.
‘I was born here, and I will die here, leaving is a stigma.’
With power supplies cut and food and water in the Palestinian enclave running short after a week of retaliatory air strikes and a full Israeli blockade, the U.N. said Gaza’s civilians were in an impossible situation.
‘The noose around the civilian population in Gaza is tightening. How are 1.1 million people supposed to move across a densely populated warzone in less than 24 hours?’ U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths wrote on social media.
Hamas, who slaughtered Israeli civilians in Saturday’s attacks, vowed to fight until the last drop of blood and told residents to stay put after Israel said they should leave to escape the onslaught because Hamas ‘is using you as human shields’.