An elderly Palestinian farmer, with the aim of finding a safe shelter during the humanitarian pause in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, undertook a perilous journey from northern Gaza and reached the south, Anadolu Agency reports.
Due to Israel’s attacks that began on 7 October, the northern regions of the Gaza Strip, where hundreds of thousands of people were forcibly displaced, have been witnessing harsh living conditions.
Palestinians in the areas where the attacks were intensified were forced to leave their homes. As part of the humanitarian pause that came into effect on Friday, crossings from north to south were allowed.
Mostafa Al Hassan, who lives in a Bedouin village in the north, ventured long distances in search of a safer place. The elderly farmer did not leave his animals behind.
‘I set out with my animals’
Hassan told Anadolu that the Israeli army distributed brochures in the northern regions instructing them to “go south”, so he headed south.
“I set out, taking my animals with me,” Hassan said, adding that he arrived at the checkpoint on Salah Al-Din Street near the Gaza Valley that separates the north from the south.
Noting that the road was not suitable for walking and the checkpoint blocked the entrances, Hassan said: “I saw four bodies on the road while passing through the checkpoint.”
Pointing out that an Israeli military vehicle was stationed on Salah Al-Din Street, where the checkpoint is located, the elderly Palestinian farmer said:
No one can go from the south of the Gaza Strip to the northern regions. Those who try to do so are exposed to gunfire opened by the Israeli army. As we passed the checkpoint, we raised our hands and identification cards in the air. The Israeli army occasionally detains those passing through
According to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the attacks have approximately led to the displacement of 1.7 million out of 2.3 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Qatar announced an agreement late Monday to extend the initial four-day pause in Gaza for two more days, under which further prisoner exchanges will be carried out.
Israel launched a massive military campaign in the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by Hamas on 7 October.
It has since killed over 15,000 people, including 6,150 children and 4,000 women, according to health authorities in the enclave.
The official Israeli death toll stands at 1,200.