BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- An Israeli official told Ma'an Saturday that most residents of the northern Gaza Strip "are allowed" to return to their homes.
Yoav Mordechai, Israel's coordinator of government activities in the Palestinian territories, told Ma'an that "with the exception of residents of Beit Hanoun," residents of northern Gaza could return to their homes.
Mordechai, however, warned Palestinians against approaching the separation barrier in the north, saying they could be shot if they did so.
Many of the residents will return to find their homes destroyed or damaged by Israeli attacks. Over 5,000 homes have been destroyed and some 26,000 damaged throughout the offensive.
The Israeli army has repeatedly commanded Palestinians in Gaza to leave their homes throughout the ongoing offensive on the Strip, sometimes detailing where Palestinians should go to escape bloodshed.
However, many cases have been documented where Palestinians follow instructions and end up being killed by Israeli forces in the places they are told to take refuge.
Over 250,000 Palestinians have been displaced by Israel's assault on Gaza.