Monday March 04, 2024

1 month into conflict, Israeli troops reach ´heart of Gaza City´

Published : 08 Nov 2023, 00:24

  DF News Desk
People conduct rescue work among residential buildings destroyed in an Israeli strike in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, Nov. 7, 2023. Photo: Xinhua by Yasser Qudih.

Israeli troops were fighting on Tuesday "in the heart of Gaza City," a senior Israeli commander said, on the 32nd day of the Israel-Hamas conflict that has claimed the lives of 10,328 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, reported Xinhua.

In an interview with ABC News, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not rule out "tactical little pauses" in the fighting to allow aid to reach Gaza or facilitate the release of some of the around 240 hostages kidnapped by Hamas during its Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.

However, Netanyahu rejected any general cease-fire unless all hostages were freed.

After the conflict in Gaza ends, Israel will take "overall security responsibility" in Gaza "for an indefinite period," Netanyahu said.

The ground troops of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have continued to move forward in the northern Gaza Strip, reaching central Gaza City. "For the first time in a decade, the IDF is fighting in the heart of Gaza City," the Commanding Officer of the Southern Command Yaron Finkelman said in a press statement near the Gaza Strip border.

"Our soldiers are eliminating terrorists, discovering tunnels, destroying weapons and continuing to advance into the center of the enemy," he said.

Israelis observed a moment of silence across the country to remember the victims of Hamas' attacks on Oct. 7. Candle-lit ceremonies were held in Tel Aviv and other major cities. The surprise Hamas attack that took place one month ago killed about 1,400 people in Israel.

An Israeli military spokesperson said in a statement early in the day that troops had secured a military stronghold in the northern Gaza Strip that belonged to Hamas. Anti-tank missiles and launchers, weapons, and various intelligence materials were found in the compound.

The spokesperson said Israeli forces air struck a building where "a number of" militants had barricaded themselves. The building was located adjacent to the Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said in a statement that Israeli forces had shelled areas about 50 meters away from the Al-Quds Hospital, where more than 14,000 displaced Palestinians have sought shelter. The shelling injured at least 60 people and significantly damaged the hospital building and ambulances, the Society said.

The PRCS also warned that fuel reserves at the hospital were expected to run out by Wednesday as Israel had been preventing the entry of fuel into Gaza since Oct. 7.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi government said on Tuesday that they would donate 10 million liters of gas to hospitals in the Gaza Strip.

A statement issued by the government said that the donation was "to help alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people and to show the solidarity of the Iraqi people with the people of the Gaza Strip."

Confrontations on the Lebanon-Israel borders continued on Tuesday, killing two Hezbollah fighters, and raising the death toll of the Shiite military group to 68.

Lebanese military sources told Xinhua that around 20 surface-to-surface missiles were fired from southern Lebanon toward northern Israel, targeting Israeli positions in Zaoura and Amfit emplacements at the southern end of the Golan.

The sources added that Israel fired four patriot missiles in return, which fell in Lebanon's southern villages of Hasbaya and Arqoub.