The Israeli offensive on the territory has entered a new phase after killing thousands of residents of the Palestinian enclave of Gaza. Israeli ground forces have focused on locating and disabling Hamas’ extensive tunnel network underground in Gaza.
Since an unprecedented attack by the Palestinian independence group Hamas on southern Israel on October 7, Israel has launched a series of massive air and missile strikes on Gaza, with its ground forces splitting the tiny Palestinian enclave in two.
They surrounded Gaza City, the enclave’s largest city and the main powerhouse of Hamas. Israel claims its troops have advanced into the heart of the city. Hamas, on the other hand, said its fighters were inflicting heavy casualties on the occupation forces.
Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, Israel’s top military spokesman, said Israel’s Combat Engineering Corps was using explosive devices to destroy a network of tunnels built by Hamas. These networks extend hundreds of kilometers underground in Gaza.
Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Galant said, “Israel’s target is only one, Hamas terrorists in Gaza, their infrastructure, their commanders, bunkers, communication rooms.”
Two Hamas sources and the separate Palestinian group Islamic Jihad told Reuters that Israeli tanks were facing strong resistance from Hamas fighters, who were using the tunnel network to carry out sneak attacks.
However, it was not possible to verify these claims of the two sides on the battlefield, Reuters reported.
Israel has said it fears its military operation could further endanger hostages held by Hamas. Israel believes that the hostages are being held inside the tunnel. Tel Aviv said it will not agree to a ceasefire until these hostages are released. Hamas says it will not stop fighting if the attack on Gaza continues.
Senior Hamas leader Ghazi Hamad told Al Jazeera television, “I challenge (Israel) if they are able to record any military achievements at the moment other than killing civilians. Gaza cannot be broken and will remain a thorn in the neck of the Americans and the Zionists.”
Although Israel has focused its attacks on the northern part of Gaza, they are also attacking the south. At least 23 people were killed in two Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis and Rafah on Tuesday, Palestinian health officials said.
More than 10,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since October 7, 40 percent of them children, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.