Palestinians Face Harrowing Hunt for Safety as War Intensifies

Palestinians Face Harrowing Hunt for Safety as War Intensifies
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The first call came at 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 8. The recorded voice instructed doctor Hussam Abuouda, his wife and five children to get out. 

Leave Beit Hanoun, the city at the Israeli border in northern Gaza, Abuouda recalls the unidentified man saying in Arabic.

Israeli army hits targets in north and its air force strikes 200 targets across Gaza in preparation for ground attacks in south/

Israeli troops and Hamas fighters were engaged Monday in some of the toughest fighting of the two-month-old war, as Israel looks to decisively finish its operations in and around Gaza City and prepare to move its offensive south.

The Israeli military has essentially cornered Hamas fighters in two of their last strongholds in the northern Gaza Strip—the Shajaiya neighborhood of Gaza City and the city of Jabalia, immediately to the north. 

Israel has conducted heavy airstrikes in those areas since the fighting resumed over the weekend, including one strike that Israeli officials said killed Hamas’s battalion commander in Shajaiya, and which Palestinian officials said caused hundreds of civilian casualties.

At the same time, Israel is turning its attention to the southern city of Khan Younis, the home of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar. Israel also believes Khan Younis is probably where hostages are being held. 

Israel on Monday warned some residents in the south to evacuate ahead of military action that analysts said could be the decisive battle of the war.

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