Israel warned over 1 million Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip to evacuate as the Jewish state prepared for a ground invasion of the blockaded coastal territory Friday.
Days ago, Hamas militants stormed across the Gaza border and butchered over 1,300 Israelis, including women, children, and the elderly. They took over 100 people as captives back into Gaza.
Following the brutal attacks, Israel's defense minister Yoav Gallant ordered a "complete siege" of Gaza while pledging to annihilate the "animals" responsible for the worst attack on Israel in 50 years.
For days, Israel has bombarded Gaza with airstrikes while cutting off electricity, food, and fuel to the 25-mile strip, which is home to over 2 million people.
The anticipated invasion has led to concern about a humanitarian crisis and accusations of "ethnic cleansing" from groups sympathetic to Palestine and far-left Democrats like Ilhan Omar (Mn.).
President Biden has largely refrained from telling Israel how to respond to the "sheer evil" of Hamas, but he warned Friday that "the overwhelming majority of Palestinians had nothing to do Hamas" as his administration pressured Israel to limit harm to civilians.
Israel says they will do that, but they can't stop Hamas from using civilians like human shields.
“We don’t want to harm them. Whoever wants to save his life should go south," Defense Minister Gallant said. "Hamas is camouflaging itself inside civilian population, and we are going to go in and dismantle its infrastructure."
Hamas told Palestinians to ignore the evacuation order, calling it "psychological warfare" meant to demoralize the Palestinians.
Egypt has rejected requests for an evacuation corridor to let Palestinians out of Gaza.
There are fears the conflict could escalate into a regional war, especially if Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, gets involved and opens a second front in the north of Israel. So far, the Biden administration has said there will be no boots on the ground in Israel.
In the meanwhile, Israel has said it will continue to choke off resources to Gaza until the hostages are returned safely.
"No electrical switch will be turned on, no water hydrant will be opened and no fuel truck will enter until the Israeli abductees are returned home," Israel’s energy minister Israel Katz said.