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Gaza, bloodbath on the coastal road

Tehran Times – Another appalling massacre is feared in the Gaza Strip as Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian civilians who try to return to their homes in the territory’s north.

Palestinian people, including men, women, children and the elderly, flooded the coastal road northwards on Sunday. They began the perilous trip to cross an Israeli military checkpoint on al-Rashid Street, south of Gaza City. 

Palestinians who made the journey were walking with their belongings, some riding bicycles, donkey carts, and pick-up trucks. “I’m going to Gaza City. It’s enough. We need to go back to our homes and lands. We are tired of displacement… we heard people saying we can go back, but no one official told us. We’ll leave it to God,” Majd El-Aqqad told CNN. 

An elderly woman also told the American news channel, “I don’t know anything about my house. It’s our home and our land. The Israelis displaced us and humiliated us.” Other civilians stressed that fear of death will fail to dissuade them from returning to their homes. 

“I am going home. I have been displaced for six months. We live in a tent because our house was struck,” a young boy named Omar Al-Dahdouh said. He added, “I am not afraid. If I must die, I will die, but I don’t want to live this anymore. I want to go home, I’m tired. My siblings need to live.” 

People made the dangerous journey amid speculations that the Israeli army was allowing women, children, and men over 50 to go to the north. 

However, the army dismissed the speculations and opened fire on civilians who risked their lives to come back home to northern Gaza.  

“We reached all the way to the checkpoint until we saw Israeli tanks. We headed back because they fired towards us. We didn’t see anyone make it to the other side,” one woman said.

Hospital officials in Gaza said on Sunday that Israeli soldiers killed five Palestinians who were trying to travel north to their homes. Dozens of others also sustained injuries.  

Tel Aviv declared war on Gaza on October 7 after Hamas carried out a surprise military operation in southern Israel. 

Northern Gaza was an early target of Israel’s onslaught. The Israeli military flattened vast parts of northern Gaza, forcing much of the area’s population to flee south. 

Israel has prevented most displaced people from returning to northern Gaza since waging war on Gaza more than six months ago. Around 250,000 Palestinians are believed to be living in the area. 

Israel is still conducting air raids in northern Gaza although the regime claims it has loosened the control of the resistance movement Hamas over the area. Israeli troops have also stormed al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City and perpetrated massacres there.  

They claimed that Hamas used the facility as a command center without providing any evidence. 

Nearly 34,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes against Gazans since October 7. The war has also pushed the besieged Palestinian territory into a humanitarian crisis, leaving more than 1 million people on the brink of starvation. The situation is worse in the north where famine is said to be imminent.

Israel has largely restricted the delivery of food, medicines, water, and other essentials to northern Gaza over the past months. On Monday, the Israeli military spokesman warned Palestinians not to return to northern Gaza. 

Avichay Adraee said Palestinians should stay in southern Gaza, where they have been told to shelter because the north is a “dangerous combat zone.”

Some 1.4 million displaced Palestinians have sought shelter in Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city. But Israel continues to carry out deadly air strikes there. The regime has also vowed to launch a ground offensive in Rafah. Israel carries out deadly attacks against Palestinians in all parts of the Gaza Strip. 

Presently, Israel’s war of genocide on Gaza shows no sign of abating as Western countries, in particular the U.S., continue to provide the regime with huge amounts of weapons. 

The arms supplies have emboldened Israel to perpetrate war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. 

Unless the international community takes practical measures, the coastal road to northern Gaza could become the scene of a bloodbath as people are determined to reach their homes. 

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