Monday March 04, 2024
Israel continues ground assault into Gaza, rejects calls for truce
Published : 31 Oct 2023, 01:38
Updated : 31 Oct 2023, 01:40
Israeli troops continued ground operations in the Gaza Strip on Monday, as the death toll in the coastal enclave exceeds 8,300, reported Xinhua.
Also on Monday, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced in a statement that one Israeli soldier, who was abducted to the besieged Gaza Strip by Hamas on Oct. 7, was released. The IDF said previously that a total of 239 people were taken hostage during the Hamas attack.
It said the soldier has undergone medical checks and is "doing well," and has met with her family, stressing that the IDF will continue to do everything to bring back other hostages.
Meanwhile, a Hamas official denied the Israeli army's claim, saying "it was aimed at causing confusion and perplexity and that no one believed the Israeli story."
Izzat al-Rishq, a member of Hamas' political bureau, said in a statement that "such an announcement aims to disrupt the video of the three female prisoners, which was a great shock to Israeli society," referring to a short video released by Hamas earlier in the day.
The video allegedly showed three female captives, one of whom fulminated about Israel's response to the hostage crisis. It is unclear when the video was shot.
Despite the international calls for a Gaza truce and the release of civilian detainees, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday evening that a cease-fire "will not happen."
Netanyahu made the remarks to the foreign media in Tel Aviv, emphasizing that "Israel did not start this war. Israel did not want this war. But Israel will win this war."
Other statements released by the IDF said during clashes with Hamas militants in Gaza, the IDF troops killed dozens of those who barricaded themselves in buildings and tunnels and attempted to attack the troops.
One statement noted that over the last few days, the IDF struck over 600 Hamas targets, including weapons depots, anti-tank missile launching positions, as well as hideouts and staging grounds used by Hamas.
The IDF also said it carried out strikes against Hezbollah military infrastructure in Lebanon, including military posts.
Israeli tanks rolled into the southern outskirts of Gaza City on Monday, clashing with Hamas fighters who tried to stop their advance, Palestinian security sources and eyewitnesses said.
The sources added that dozens of Israeli army vehicles crossed from the eastern parts of the Gaza Strip and reached the main Salah al-Din road, cutting off Gaza City from the central part of the territory.
Rocket sirens sounded in various locations in Israel on Monday, including surrounding areas of Gaza, northern towns close to the border with Lebanon, and the western Sea of Galilee, as well as in Jerusalem. Israeli authorities announced that approximately 8,000 rockets have been fired toward Israel since Oct. 7.
The death toll of Palestinians from Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip has risen to 8,382, according to the official Palestinian news agency of WAFA, while more than 1,400 people in Israel lost their lives, the vast majority in the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, which triggered the latest conflict.
Since the conflict began, Gaza is believed to be on the brink of a humanitarian crisis, with very limited access to food and water, no fuel for electricity, and its health system being overwhelmed.
On Monday, a convoy of 60 trucks carrying humanitarian aid crossed the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing before entering the Gaza Strip, according to an Egyptian military source.
Some 193 trucks carrying 3,100 tons of humanitarian aid have passed through the crossing on their way to the Gaza Strip since the delivery of aid began on Oct. 21, said another Egyptian official.