An armed section of Hamas terrorists have warned residents living in the Israeli city of Ashkelon that they have until 5 pm local time (10 am ET) to leave.

The al Qassam Brigades posted on social media that its warning was in response to the “crime of the enemy”.

The statement on Telegram said: “In response to the crime of the enemy displacing our people and forcing them to flee their homes in several areas of the Gaza Strip, we give the residents of the occupied city of Ashkelon time to leave before five o’clock in the evening.”

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The proclamation came days after Hamas infiltrated into the Middle Eastern country as part of a surprise attack and launched rocket attacks across Israel. The militants claimed to have hit Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, which the Israelis have denied.

Israel countered by launching a full-blown military attack on Gaza, adding that their air force has killed two senior Hamas officials – its minister of economy, Jawad Abu Shamala, and Zakaria Abu Maamar, a member of Hamas’s political office.

Where is Ashkelon located?

Ashkelon or Ashqelon is a coastal city in the Southern District of Israel on the Mediterranean coast, 31 miles south of Tel Aviv, and 8 miles north of the border with the Gaza Strip.

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The modern city is named after the ancient seaport of Ascalon, which was destroyed in 1270 and whose remains can now be seen at the archaeological site on the southwestern edge of the modern metropolis. These ruins date back to the Neolithic Age and saw the passage of numerous civilizations, including the Egyptians, Canaanites, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Hasmoneans, Romans, Persians, Arabs and Crusaders.

The modern urban development of the area began approximately 4 km inland from the ancient site as the Palestinian town of al-Majdal.