Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Israel said Tuesday that thousands of Palestinians in Gaza moved toward southern areas to avoid the deadly ongoing warfare between Israel and Hamas militants.
The Israeli Defense Forces told residents that Salaha-Din Road would be open for Palestinians to evacuate to southern Gaza between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., local time. Thousands made the trek waving white flags with their hands up as they passed the Israeli military, a video from the IDF showed.
Late Monday, Israel forces reportedly had surrounded Gaza City, the suspected headquarters for Hamas with many expecting a ground attack soon.
Hamas has claimed that Israel has fired on the fleeing convoys, but Israeli officials have countered, charging it was Hamas who was trying to prevent civilians from leaving.
In another development, the State Department said that 400 Americans and their families have been able to leave Gaza through the Rafah border crossing, one of the largest departures of U.S. residents from Gaza since the start of hostilities on Oct. 7.
"We have assisted more than 400 U.S. citizens,lawful permanent residents, and other eligible individuals to depart Gaza," State Department principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said on Tuesday.
Israel said its latest death toll since Hamas attacked the country through Tuesday has topped 1,400 with 6,900 injured. The Hamas-operated Gaza Health Ministry said that 10,328 have been killed in the Gaza Strip since fighting started with 25,956 injured.
Humanitarian groups have called on Israeli leaders to agree to a cease-fire, something they have roundly rejected.