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'We expected to die at any moment': Gaza residents describe Khan Yunis escape as Israel expands operations

Palestinians displaced from the city of Khan Yunis due to Israeli attacks, January 22, 2024. (Credit: Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images)

Thousands of people are leaving Khan Yunis, as the Israeli army said it had surrounded the city amid new operations west of the area.

CNN video, recorded Monday, shows displaced people sitting on the side of the road and near the seashore as they head west and south. The Israeli army had ordered civilians to leave several areas in and around the city and head towards the coast, which it described to CNN as “safer.”

The video shows cars, trucks, and tractors transporting families and their basic possessions, including blankets, mattresses, and food supplies. But many walk.

Hisham Sayegh said he saw four people die, forcing him to leave with his family as the bombing intensified in the area.

“There are dead on the ground. We left them behind. There are dead inside the houses,” Al-Sayegh said. “We expected to die at any moment.”

Amer Hajo, from northern Gaza, said he would move for the third time. He added, “Now we are moving into the unknown again. The bombing continued throughout the night. We woke up to a tank in our corridor this morning (Monday), so we left.”

Umm Muhammad, a woman from Khan Yunis, said she and her family are on the streets until they decide where to go, and they cannot afford transportation south to Rafah. “Vegetables, flour and water are expensive. There are no bathrooms. No one cares about us as if we are not human.”

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“We have been on the streets for more than 100 days,” he said. “Everywhere we go, they ask us to leave, and here we are in the streets again and again.”

Umm Adel, a woman from Gaza City, told CNN that her family was in Khan Yunis and that her granddaughter died because “there was no oxygen or medicine for her.”

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