Blinken and the latest news on the war between Israel and Hamas: live updates | ET REALITY

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The Salah al-Din road, riddled with airstrike craters and lined with Israeli tanks and shells from what used to be buildings, is the only way out of the northern part of Gaza to the south, where Israel has told civilians Let them go “by their own means.” security.”

As Israeli forces intensify a ground assault on northern Gaza, thousands of desperate people are heading down the road during a daily period in which the Israeli military has said it will guarantee safe passage. The United Nations estimates that 15,000 people used the route on Tuesday, three times more than the previous day.

Journalistic photographs as well as a video Released by the Israeli army on Wednesday afternoon, the fifth day the evacuation corridor was open, it showed part of its passage: men, women and children advancing on foot between half-destroyed buildings, in some cases waving white flags, for a road named after one of the most famous Muslim conquerors in history. They carry small bags, but not suitcases. Some travel in donkey carts, but most travel on foot.

The United Nations said most of those who made the hour-long journey Tuesday, including children, elderly people and people with disabilities, traveled on foot with few belongings. He said some who arrived in the south reported having to cross Israeli checkpoints, where they said Israeli forces had been making arrests.

The Israeli military denied setting up checkpoints along the highway and maintained that Hamas, not Israel, was hindering passage south.

A satellite image released by Maxar Technologies shows groups of people walking south along the Salah al-Din road on Tuesday.Credit…Maxar Technologies, via Reuters

But some Gazans who made or attempted the journey in recent days described being shot at by Israeli tanks, despite the promise of safe passage, while others said they had seen bodies, or body parts, strewn across the road. road. The United Nations is aware of such reports but has not identified who was responsible, said a U.N. official who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

When asked about reports of Israeli tanks firing on refugees, the Israeli military said in a statement that it had been targeting Hamas throughout Gaza. It said its attacks on military targets were carried out in accordance with international law, including taking “feasible precautions to mitigate civilian casualties.”

On Sunday, Anas Al Kourd, a paramedic at Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, drove south with his cousin, whose legs had been amputated after being injured in the war, and other people, including four children. His was the only car in sight. Around him, everyone raised their hands in a gesture of surrender as they walked, carrying small white flags, he said.

As they approached Kuwait Square, a major intersection in Gaza City, they came under fire, forcing them to retreat, he said. Two or three times they attempted to advance, only to have to turn around again due to incoming fire.

When they finally reached the square, he said, he could see more than 50 Israeli tanks nearby, located where an olive grove used to be. He said he waved the blanket covering his cousin instead of a white flag, while some of his classmates, who have dual citizenship, waved their red German passports.

Al Kourd had traveled about a third of the remaining distance to mid-Gaza, crashing into splintered trees and concrete blocks, when he said they came under attack again. He was driving at “crazy speed” to escape, he said, when a missile or bomb from a fighter jet hit nearby. No one was hit, but his car hit a crater in the road and went airborne, he said.

“I don’t know how we survived,” he said a day later, after having reached the middle of the Gaza Strip. His account could not be independently confirmed.

Credit…Samar Abu Elouf for The New York Times

Evacuations from northern Gaza may have accelerated in part because of the sharply deteriorating humanitarian situation there, where food and drinking water are now almost non-existent.

However, some people have decided not to leave, believing that the south is not safer or that they are not tied to the north by other concerns. Among those who have stayed are relatives of Hiba Tibi, director of CARE International, an aid group for the West Bank and Gaza.

For days, he said, they have had no bread. When they ventured out to look for food on Tuesday, they told him, they could only find a few cucumbers and lemons for sale to feed 13 people. Cucumbers cost eight times more than before.

His uncle told him that he had already rationed his own meals and that older family members “will have to start skipping meals,” he added.

His relatives stayed, he said, because his uncle needs dialysis at Al Shifa Hospital. Unable to walk and with impaired vision, she makes the 30-minute trip to the hospital on the back of her son.

Only five of the nearly 30 apartments in his uncle’s building remain occupied, Tibi said. The rest of his neighbors have moved south.

Ameera Harouda, Nada Rashwan and Hwaida Saad contributed with reports.

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