About 100,000 Gaza residents living in cities near the border with Israel were reportedly told Thursday to leave their homes ahead of anticipated military action by the Israeli army, according to Israeli media reports.
Israeli ministers have repeatedly hinted at a possible ground offensive over the past three days of airstrikes on Gaza, with troops massing on the border. Israel's Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel Radio on Thursday that the military "will have to take over Gaza temporarily, for a few weeks." Israel has called up 20,000 reservists.
Israel's military warned Gazans in Beit Lahia, Beit Hanoun and Abasan al-Saghira to flee, but residents are largely unable to leave the territory — though the border with Egypt was temporarily opened Thursday in order to let some injured people leave for treatment.
At least 88 people have been killed in three days of Israel's latest offensive on the Gaza Strip, and more than 50 of them were civilians, according to Gaza medical officials. Hundreds more have been injured.