Gaza, November 08 2023, The Europe Today: Israel’s ground forces in the Gaza Strip aimed on Wednesday to locate and disable Hamas Mujahideen vast tunnel network beneath the enclave, the next phase in an Israeli offensive that has killed thousands of Palestinians.
Gaza City, the territory’s largest town and Hamas’ main stronghold, is encircled. Israel says its troops have advanced to the heart of the city while Hamas says its fighters have inflicted heavy losses on the invading forces.
Chief Israeli military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said that Israel’s combat engineering corps were using explosive devices to destroy a tunnel network built by Hamas that stretches for hundreds of kilometres (miles) beneath Gaza.
Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel had “one target – Hamas terrorists in Gaza, their infrastructure, their commanders, bunkers, communications rooms”.
Israeli tanks have faced heavy resistance from Hamas fighters using the tunnel network to launch ambushes, two sources with Hamas and the separate militant group Islamic Jihad said.
It was not possible to verify the battlefield claims of either side.
Israelis have voiced fear that military operations could further endanger hostages, who are believed to be held in the tunnels. Israel says it won’t agree to a ceasefire until the hostages are released. Hamas says it won’t stop fighting while Gaza is under attack.
“I challenge (Israel) if it has been able, to this moment, to record any military achievement on the ground other than killing civilians,” senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamad told Al Jazeera television.