Israel warns displaced Gazans not to return

The Israeli army on July 26 warned Palestinians who have fled their homes since the beginning of the ground assault not to return, stressing that the army would not hesitate to use force against them. The warning came as thousands returned to see the area and remove their possessions from destroyed homes, amid a 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire set to expire at 8 PM. The Israeli army's Arabic-language spokesman Avichay Adraee said in a statement that those who stayed on in the neighborhood past the end of the ceasefire would be "putting their lives in danger," as the army is expected to resume a heavy assault that has taken nearly 1,000 Palestinian lives so far.

Many Gazans have been left with nowhere to go, as Israel has extended the security "buffer zone" into a total of 43% of Gaza's land area and all borders remain closed shut. Total evacuation orders are in effect across large swathes of northern, central, and southern Gaza, according to the UN's Palestine refugee agency UNRWA, and the Israeli army has made it clear that it would treat those civilians that stayed behind as combatants. More than 100,000 have taken refuge in UN-designated shelters, a few of which have been bombed by Israeli forces in recent days despite the fact that their coordinates have been formally given to Israeli authorities.

From Ma'an News Agency, July 27

  1. Gaza death toll surpasses 1,000

    The Palestinian death toll in the Gaza Strip rose to over 1,000 on July 26 amid a brief truce, as some 135 bodies were pulled from the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israeli attacks throughout the besieged coastal enclave, medics said. (Ma'an)

    Despite reports that the ceasefire could be extended for four hours until midnight, Israeli forces shelled the Deir al-Balah refugee camp and an area east of Rafah. Meanwhile, al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement that it targeted Tel Aviv with two M75 rockets at 8:40 PM, 40 minutes after the end of the official ceasefire period. (Ma'an)

    "Swimming is prohibited" signs have gone up at several Gaza beaches that have been fouled with sewage as treatment plants and other water infrastructure. Gaza officials say the damage has left thousands of families without access to clean drinking water. (MIddle East Eye, Reuters)