A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) told CNN its forces are moving forward towards Gaza City, which he says the Israeli military has encircled since reaching Gaza's coast on Sunday.
“The north and south (of Gaza) have been cut off from one another and is under IDF control,” Lt. Col. Peter Lerner told CNN’s Rosemary Church on Monday.
This “indeed means that we are pushing forward towards Gaza City, we have encircled Gaza City two days ago and we are moving forward," Lerner added.
Describing Gaza City as “the fortress of Hamas’s terrorist activities,” he said the IDF is determined and wants to destroy the militant group.
Lerner's comments came after his colleague, IDF spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said Israeli troops have split Gaza into two territories.
"Essentially today there is a northern Gaza and a southern Gaza. We have arrived at the beach and they (IDF troops) are strengthening this line," Hagari said Sunday.
He claimed the IDF will "allow for a corridor in order for the residents of northern Gaza and Gaza City to move southward."
"This is a one-way corridor to the south. We continue to attack with strength and we continue to carry out our ground operation in northern Gaza and the greater Gaza City," Hagari added.
CNN has previously documented Palestinian civilians being killed by Israeli strikes around evacuation zones, underscoring the reality that evacuation zones and warning alerts from the IDF haven’t guaranteed safety for civilians in the densely populated Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, human rights officials have said Israel's evacuation order to civilians could breach international law.