On Monday, Israel refuted claims of a short ceasefire in Gaza to allow foreign nationals to leave to neighboring Egypt.
The army, on the other hand, promised not to strike routes within Gaza earmarked for evacuating civilians from the north to the south during a short time window, from 8:00 a.m. to noon (0500 GMT to 0900 GMT).
According to media reports, Israel, Egypt, and the United States agreed to open the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt for several hours on Monday to allow foreign nationals to evacuate and humanitarian commodities to enter.
However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement saying that “there is currently no ceasefire and humanitarian aid in Gaza in exchange for the removal of foreigners.”
Aid convoys have waited on the Egyptian side but, according to witnesses, had not left the town of El-Arish, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Rafah on Monday.
“There is no ceasefire and we are continuing with our operational activity,” military spokesman Daniel Hagari told journalists.
Izzat al-Rishq, chief of Hamas’s media office, also said there was “no truth” to the media reports.
The Israeli military said earlier Monday it would refrain from striking two roads in the Gaza Strip marked for residents to move south and out of the way of a possible ground offensive.
“The IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) will refrain from targeting the designated axis from 8:00 am until 12:00 pm,” military spokesman Avichay Adraee said on X, formerly Twitter.
“For your safety take advantage of this short period of time to move south from the north of the strip and Gaza City.”
In a separate statement, military spokesperson Jonathan Conricus promised that the two chosen highways “would be safe to use” for the time.
UN relief head Martin Griffiths said he hoped to bring aid into Gaza through the Rafah crossing to “help the million people who have moved south as well as those who already live there.”
A surprise onslaught on southern Israeli villages by Gaza’s Hamas terrorists on October 7 killed over 1,400 people, while retaliation Israeli air strikes on Gaza have killed over 2,750 people in the Palestinian territory since then.
According to the United Nations agency that assists Palestinian refugees, an estimated one million Palestinians have been displaced within Gaza.
Israel has also carried out air strikes in the southern parts of Gaza in the areas of Khan Yunis and Rafah.