THE Israeli military has warned Palestinians against returning to northern Gaza, saying ‘the war is not over’.
Israel has said that northern Gaza is out of bounds as displaced Palestinians attempt to use the pause in fighting to return to their homes.
Large numbers of displaced people were attempting to return home across Gaza as the four-day truce brokered by Qatar took effect on Friday morning.
However, Israel has warned people that they will be prevented from entering the north of the war-torn enclave.
The Israeli military has said that it expects Hamas would try to encourage or push civilians to return to the northern part of the Gaza Strip and that it was prepared to prevent it from happening.
Israel dropped leaflets over southern Gaza, warning the hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians who sought refuge there not to return north amid its ground offensive.
However, many hundreds of people could be seen walking north on Friday.
Palestinian news agency Wafa said that seven people were wounded by Israeli forces as they attempted the trip to northern Gaza.
Several have been injured and taken back to hospitals in the south of the territory.
Two were shot and killed by Israeli troops and another 11 were wounded in the legs.
An Israeli military spokesperson, Avichay Adraee, has released a statement in Arabic on X.
It reads: ‘Residents of Gaza, the movement of the population from the south of the Strip to the north will not be allowed in any way, but only from the north to the south,’ it read.
‘We invite you not to approach the military forces and the areas north of the Gaza Valley. Take advantage of the time to replenish your needs and arrange your affairs,’ he said.
‘The area north of the Gaza Strip is a combat zone and it is forbidden to stay there. The war is not over and we urge you to obey the teachings and warnings for your safety,’ Adraee added.
However, many people no longer have a home to go back to after seven weeks of Israeli bombardment and ground invasions that started on October 7.
Gaza resident Ashraf Shann said that he had mixed feelings about the truce.
‘I have nowhere to go back to even if the Israelis allow us to go back to Gaza City. My house was bombed and completely destroyed on the third day of the war, he said.
Zak Hania, a displaced Palestinian who fled the Shati refugee camp, said ‘everything is broken in Gaza’.
‘We don’t know whether to be happy or sad. Our houses are broken, our hearts are broken, everything is broken in Gaza now. We do not know how life will continue after this,’ he said in the southern city of Khan Younis.
Asked if he was planning to head home during the truce, Hania responded: ‘I think it’s dangerous to go back because they’re still on the road separating the north and south of Gaza … We’re not sure about anything and we’re just praying that the ceasefire holds,’ he said.
The looming fact that the war will resume in a matter of days was a huge disappointment for people.
‘There is a sense of happiness, a sense of optimism, but it is a cautious optimism because after 48 days of relentless air strikes and killings, so many Palestinians have been surrounded by destruction and blood, and the bodies of loved ones and family members,’ Mahmoud said.
‘The ceasefire comes when people want to take a moment and just check on each other and check on their homes and belongings,’ he said.
‘There is also the looming fact that the war will resume in a matter of days, according to Israeli officials,’ Mahmoud said.
Israel’s war has killed more than 14,800 people in Gaza since October 7. In Israel, the official death toll from Hamas’s attacks before the war stands at about 1,200.