Philippines orders its nationals to leave Gaza

MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines ordered its some 100 nationals in Gaza to leave the besieged Palestinian territory Saturday, as the death toll from 12 days of Israeli strikes rose to 318.

"In view of the threats to security posed by the Israel-Hamas conflict to Filipinos in the Gaza Strip, the Department of Foreign Affairs has raised Alert Level 4 in Gaza," a statement said.

That level means "mandatory evacuation" of Filipinos by Philippine embassy staff from Cairo, Tel Aviv and Amman and with the help of the United Nations, it added.

The department said there were an estimated 109 Filipinos living in Gaza when the deadliest border flare-up since 2012 began nearly two weeks ago.

The fighting followed last month's kidnap and murder of three young Israelis in the occupied West Bank and the brutal revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager by Jewish extremists.

The Philippine government also ordered its more than 36,000 nationals working in Israel not to venture within 15km of the Gaza border.

About 10 million Filipinos live and work abroad, many of the throughout the Middle East, having left their homeland in search of better-paying jobs.

Some 318 Palestinians have died in the latest conflict, the deadliest in Gaza since 2009.

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