Israel PM Hails Advance Into Gaza City As Hamas Fighters Attack From Tunnels

Israeli forces have pushed further into Gaza City in their assault on Hamas in the north of the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday, but they faced resistance from militant hit-and-run attacks from underground tunnels.

The Palestinian death toll from nearly four weeks of Israeli air and artillery strikes on the blockaded enclave meanwhile rose past 9,000 on Thursday, Gaza health authorities said.

The Gaza Strip’s main population centre in the north has become the focus of attack for Israel, which has vowed to annihilate the Islamist group’s command structure and has told civilians to flee to the south.

“We’re at the height of the battle. We’ve had impressive successes and have passed the outskirts of Gaza City. We are advancing,” Netanyahu said in a statement. He gave no further details.

Israeli military chief Lieutenant-General Herzi Halevi said in a televised statement: “Our forces are now in the heart of a ground operation in the northern Gaza Strip.”

Brigadier General Iddo Mizrahi, chief of Israel’s military engineers, said troops were in a first stage of opening access routes in Gaza but were encountering mines and booby-traps.

“Hamas has learned and prepared itself well,” he said.

Hamas and allied Islamic Jihad fighters were emerging from tunnels to fire at tanks, then disappearing back into the network, residents said and videos from both groups showed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *