Israel warns 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza to leave homes

Israelis take cover on the side of a road as a siren sounds warning of incoming rockets outside the northern Gaza Strip on July 15, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Israelis take cover on the side of a road as a siren sounds warning of incoming rockets outside the northern Gaza Strip on July 15, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A smoke trail is seen as a rocket is launched from the northern Gaza Strip towards Israel on July 15, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A smoke trail is seen as a rocket is launched from the northern Gaza Strip towards Israel on July 15, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A Palestinian woman carries empty bottles to fill them with water near a UN school where she took refuge in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia early on July 16, 2014, after evacuating her house near the border with Israel. -- PHOTO: AFP
A Palestinian woman carries empty bottles to fill them with water near a UN school where she took refuge in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia early on July 16, 2014, after evacuating her house near the border with Israel. -- PHOTO: AFP
Palestinians walk past the house of senior Hamas official Mahmud al-Zahar after it was destroyed by an overnight Israeli air strike, on July 16, 2014, in Gaza City. -- PHOTO: AFP
Palestinians walk past the house of senior Hamas official Mahmud al-Zahar after it was destroyed by an overnight Israeli air strike, on July 16, 2014, in Gaza City. -- PHOTO: AFP
Palestinians, who fled their houses that are adjacent to the border with Israel, ride a donkey cart as they make their way to stay at a United Nations-run school, in the northern Gaza Strip on July 16, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Palestinians, who fled their houses that are adjacent to the border with Israel, ride a donkey cart as they make their way to stay at a United Nations-run school, in the northern Gaza Strip on July 16, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Palestinians sleep at the yard of a UN school in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia early on July 16, 2014, after evacuating their houses near the border with Israel.  -- PHOTO: AFP
Palestinians sleep at the yard of a UN school in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia early on July 16, 2014, after evacuating their houses near the border with Israel.  -- PHOTO: AFP
A Palestinian boy shows flyers dropped over Gaza City by the Israeli army urging residents to evacuate their home by 0500GMT, on July 16, 2014, in Gaza City. -- PHOTO: AFP
A Palestinian boy shows flyers dropped over Gaza City by the Israeli army urging residents to evacuate their home by 0500GMT, on July 16, 2014, in Gaza City. -- PHOTO: AFP
A Palestinian boy shows a flyer dropped over Gaza City by the Israeli army urging residents to evacuate their home by 0500GMT, on July 16, 2014, in Gaza City. The Israeli army has warned some 100,000 Palestinians in the eastern Gaza Strip to eva
A Palestinian boy shows a flyer dropped over Gaza City by the Israeli army urging residents to evacuate their home by 0500GMT, on July 16, 2014, in Gaza City. The Israeli army has warned some 100,000 Palestinians in the eastern Gaza Strip to evacuate their homes, military sources said Wednesday. -- PHOTO: AFP

JERUSALEM (AFP) - The Israeli army has warned some 100,000 Palestinians in the eastern Gaza Strip to evacuate their homes, military sources said Wednesday.

AFP correspondents saw flyers dropped over the Zeitun neighbourhood southeast of Gaza City, and residents there and elsewhere also reported receiving recorded phone and text messages urging them to evacuate by 0500 GMT.

The flyers explained that the army would be carrying out "aerial strikes against terror sites and operatives" in Zeitun and Shujaiya, since "a high volume of rocket fire at Israel" was from there. A similar message was sent to residents of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza.

"The evacuation is for your own safety," the leaflet read, warning residents to not return to their homes until further notice.

Similar messages had been sent to Beit Lahiya with a Sunday deadline, causing the exodus of 17,000 people who took shelter in United Nations schools.

The warnings came on the ninth day of Israel's Operation Protective Edge, which aims to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza militants. Since July 8, militants have fired nearly 1,000 rockets and mortars into the Jewish state, and Israel has carried out around 1,500 strikes against targets inside the Gaza Strip, the army says.

Palestinian medical sources said 205 people were killed in the Israeli strikes. On Tuesday, the first Israeli was killed by a rocket fired from Gaza at the Erez border crossing.