Desperate Search for Refuge: Palestinians Flee Northern Gaza



by FARUK IMAMOVIC

Desperate Search for Refuge: Palestinians Flee Northern Gaza
Desperate Search for Refuge: Palestinians Flee Northern Gaza © Getty Images News/Ahmad Hasaballah

In the heart of the Gaza Strip, where conflict has become a daily reality, a temporary ceasefire provided a window of hope for hundreds of Palestinians seeking safety. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) recently granted a four-hour passage for civilians to travel from northern Gaza to the southern regions.

This humanitarian move was captured in a video published by the IDF, revealing the stories of those caught in the midst of turmoil.

A Perilous Journey for the Vulnerable

As the ceasefire allowed a brief respite from the shelling and airstrikes, scores of Palestinians made their way to safety.

Among them were children, women, and the elderly, clutching their identification cards and waving white flags, symbols of their desperate plea for safe passage. Salah Eddin Street, a vital lifeline connecting northern and southern Gaza, was the designated route for the evacuation.

The IDF had repeatedly urged civilians to move southward, away from the escalating conflict zones in Gaza City and the north. Before crossing the IDF checkpoint on Salah Eddin Street, evacuees shared their harrowing experiences.

Many had been walking for hours, some carrying only water bottles, while others held tightly to their hopes for a safe journey. Wedad Al-Ghoul, a mother traveling with her young son, had covered nearly 5 miles on foot from her coastal home, clutching her ID and expressing her uncertainty about what lay ahead.

"I am carrying my ID because I was told it (the passage) will be safe, I don’t know if I am going to be allowed to enter or arrive in the south," she said. Um Zaher, a mother of four, recounted her traumatic experience while traveling in a horse-drawn carriage.

She described the terror she and her family had faced in their neighborhood, with buildings crumbling around them and their survival uncertain. "I am a resident of Al-Shejaiya neighborhood... We saw death in our own eyes, the floor was exploding from under us.

I have only one son and three daughters, I can’t walk, where do we go? No house, no food, no water; they left us with nothing," Zaher said.

A Glimmer of Hope Amidst the Chaos

Avichay Adraee, the IDF spokesperson for Arabic media, announced on social media that safe passage on Salah Eddin Street would be allowed from 10 a.m.

to 2 p.m. local time. He posted a video alongside the announcement, showing displaced persons walking past an Israeli tank on the same street. According to the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, approximately 5,000 people fled to southern Gaza on Monday, taking advantage of this precious window of safety.