Scores of Palestinians evacuated northern Gaza and headed south during a four-hour window allotted by the Israel Defense Forces for safe passage on Tuesday, as seen in video from the scene, including one published by the IDF.
Children, women and elderly people held up their identification cards, while some carried white flags, the video showed.
Salah Eddin Street serves as one of the two primary highways in Gaza, linking the north to the south. The IDF has repeatedly called on civilians to move south of Wadi Gaza as it intensifies its assault on Hamas in Gaza City and northern Gaza.
Speaking to CNN before crossing an IDF checkpoint set up on Salah Eddin Street, evacuees said they had been walking for hours. Some people carried nothing but water bottles, while others held white flags, signaling their hope for safe passage.
Wedad Al-Ghoul, traveling with her young son, said she had walked 8 to 9 kilometers so far (roughly 5 miles) from her home on Gaza’s coast.
“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 to the south,” she said.
Um Zaher, a mother of four traveling in a horse-drawn carriage, recounted her harrowing experience to CNN.
“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.
Avichay Adraee, the IDF spokesperson for Arabic media, said via X, formerly Twitter, on Tuesday that safe passage was allowed on Salah Eddin Street from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. Accompanying the announcement, he posted a video showing displaced persons walking past an Israeli tank on the same street.
About 5,000 people fled to southern Gaza by foot during a four-hour window on Monday, according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.