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Israel army tells Palestinians in north Gaza to evacuate

July 12, 2014 10:52 P.M. (Updated: July 14, 2014 12:44 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (AFP) - The Israeli army is warning Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip to "leave their homes for their own safety," the military said in a statement on Saturday night.

"Tonight we will send messages to northern Gaza residents urging them to leave their homes for their own safety. It's unsafe to be near Hamas," the statement said.

The warning is not the first time that Israel has urged Palestinians to leave their homes, but it comes as Israel intensified air strikes in the wake of a barrage of rockets fired at Tel Aviv.

At least 16 people were killed in the strikes late Saturday, including 15 in the Tuffah neighbourhood of Gaza City, medics said.

The new deaths brought the toll in the fifth day of the conflict to 151, with more than 1,000 people wounded.

On Friday, the United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said a majority of those killed in Gaza so far -- 77 percent -- were civilians.

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