Where is Ashkelon? How close is it to Gaza and Jerusalem? Map of region under immediate threat as war continues to escalate

Hamas has warned Israeli civilians to get out of the port city of Ashkelon now or face death ‘in response to the airstrikes’. 

It comes after Israel warned Hamas they had ‘nowhere to hide’ and that its air force was launching ‘extensive attacks’ on the Palestinian terrorist group in revenge for its deadly surprise incursion that saw more than 1,000 Israelis slaughtered.

But where exactly is Ashkelon? How close is it to Gaza and Jerusalem? Read on below for key information on the location of Ashkelon. 

An infographic shows where armed Palestinian groups from the Gaza Strip infiltrated Israeli settlements along the border. Ashkelon can be seen in the top right hand corner of the graphic, with the city lying just eight miles north of the Gaza strip border

Where is Ashkelon? 

Located on the Mediterranean coast in the Southern District of Israel, the city of Ashkelon lies 30 miles south of Tel Aviv and eight miles north of the Gaza Strip border. 

Ashkelon also lies 48 miles away from the Israeli capital of Jerusalem.  

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development (FCDO) office has issued a warning to British tourists against all but essential travel to Israel and the West Bank. 

It said: ‘In Israel and the West Bank, there is a risk of violent incidents, including stabbings, shootings, arson, vehicle rammings and stone throwing attacks on people and vehicles. These incidents have involved protestors (both Israelis and Palestinians), Israeli security forces, and civilians (including Israeli settlers). There is a risk that tourists or bystanders could be caught up in any of these types of incident.’

Along with its advice warning against all but essential travel to the West Bank and Israel, the Foreign Office warns Brits against all travel to Gaza, the Shebaa Farms and Ghajjar, within 500m of the border with Lebanon (the ‘Blue Line’) east of Metula. 

This includes the northern edge of the town and within 500m of the border with Syria (the ‘Alpha Line’), southwest of Ashkelon, the area south of route 35 and west of route 40 as far as Tlalim, not including Be’er Sheva, the area west of Be’er Sheva and the area north of route 211. 

The death toll from the unprecedented assault by Palestinian militant group Hamas on its territory rose to 900 in Israel, which has retaliated with a withering barrage of strikes on Gaza (pictured)

The death toll from the unprecedented assault by Palestinian militant group Hamas on its territory rose to 900 in Israel, which has retaliated with a withering barrage of strikes on Gaza (pictured)

Why are Hamas targeting Ashkelon?

On Tuesday, October 10, a Hamas spokesperson issued a warning to the residents of the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon to leave the city before 5pm local time (3pm in the UK).

A spokesman for the militant group’s armed unit Al Qassam announced that it would attack the southern city of Askelon with rockets.

‘In response to the enemy’s crime of 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 a deadline to leave it by 5pm this evening,’ the Al Qassam Bridgades said.

Minutes after the sinister warning was made, Hamas claimed it had launched rockets at Israel’s international Ben Gurion airport, located just 38 miles from the port city. 

But this claim was quickly denied by a spokesperson at the airport, who said it had not been hit by any rockets and that operations there continue.

Hamas mounted a huge rocket barrage at central Israel, including the country’s main city Tel Aviv, at 3.30pm on October 10, in which two civilians died. A second attack followed less than 20 minutes later.

How many people have died on both sides of the conflict so far? 

At least 900 Israelis have been killed by the terrorists since Hamas launched the surprise attack on Saturday. 

In response, Israel has pounded the Gaza strip with the fiercest air strikes in the 75-year history of its conflict.

Military spokesman Richard Hecht told reporters on Tuesday that the bodies of some 1,500 Hamas militants had been found around the Gaza border following strikes, adding that security forces had ‘more or less restored control over the border’ with Gaza.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces have already used its strike force of 600 planes and 300 rocket launchers to relentlessly pound the Gaza strip, with airstrikes and artillery destroying thousands of Hamas targets and killing 770 Palestinians. 

Israel also ordered a ‘complete siege’ of Gaza, cutting off electricity, fuel and food for the 2.3 million Palestinians who for the most part were already living in abject poverty.

The four-day-old war has already claimed at least 1,600 lives, as Israel saw gun battles in the streets of its own towns for the first time in decades and neighbourhoods in Gaza were reduced to rubble.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk