The Palestinian scramble continued into Sunday for escape from northern Gaza as Israel intensified warnings of an imminent offensive by ‘‘air, ground and sea’’ following Hamas militants’ atrocities in Israel a week ago.
In a nationally broadcast address on Saturday night, Israel’s chief military spokesman, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, accused Hamas of trying to use civilians as human shields and issued a new appeal to Gaza residents to move south. “We are going to attack Gaza City very broadly soon,” he said, without giving a timetable for the attack against the 25-mile-long Gaza Strip territory.
“The Palestinian civilians in Gaza are not our enemies,” an Israeli military spokesman, John Conricus, said. “We don’t assess them as such, and we don’t target them as such. We are trying to do the right thing.”
At Gaza City’s main hospital, al-Shifa, a crowd of men, women and children that medical officials estimated at 35,000 crammed into bloodied hallways and on hospital grounds, sitting under trees as well as inside the building’s lobby, hoping to be protected from the fighting.