(Source – AP) In response to Israel’s increased warnings of an impending air, ground, and sea offensive following Hamas militants’ deadly rampage in Israel a week ago, desperate Palestinians scrambled for escape from northern Gaza on Saturday or huddled by the thousands at a hospital in the target zone in hopes that it would be spared.

Israel dropped leaflets from the air and increased its warnings on social media for more than 1 million Gaza residents to leave the region, all the while employees at an Israeli military camp maintained their efforts to identify the more than 1,300 individuals killed in the attack on October 7 through the Jewish Sabbath.

In preparation for a targeted offensive against Hamas militants in the north, including in what it claimed were underground hideouts in Gaza City, the IDF claims it is attempting to evacuate people from the area. People were urged by Hamas to remain in their houses.

Such a quick flight, together with Israel’s siege of the region, would result in immeasurable human misery, according to the U.N. and aid organizations. According to the World Health Organization, the evacuation “could be tantamount to a death sentence” for the more than 2,000 patients in northern hospitals, including infants in incubators and those receiving intensive care.

About half of the territory’s 1.1 million citizens are subject to the evacuation order. In response to the warning, “hundreds of thousands” of Palestinians, according to the Israeli military, fled north. It provided a six-hour window for safe passage via Gaza’s two main arteries, which closed on Saturday afternoon.

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