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Israel says it attacked Hamas gunmen inside Gaza tunnels

JERUSALEM: Israel said its forces attacked Hamas gunmen inside the militants’ vast tunnel network beneath the Palestinian enclave of Gaza after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed calls for a halt to fighting to ease a worsening humanitarian crisis.

The tunnels are a prime objective for Israel as it expands ground operations inside Gaza to wipe out Hamas, which rules Gaza, following its deadly surprise attack on southern Israel three weeks ago.

“Over the last day, combined IDF (Israel Defense Forces) struck approximately 300 targets, including anti-tank missile and rocket launch posts below shafts, as well as military compounds inside underground tunnels belonging to the Hamas terrorist organisation,” the Israeli military said in a statement.

Militants responded with anti-tank missiles and machine gun fire, it added.

“The soldiers killed terrorists and directed air forces to real-time strikes on targets and terror infrastructure,” the Israeli military said.

Israeli forces also bombed Gaza overnight in air, sea and ground attacks, hitting northwestern areas of the coastal enclave where Israeli troops were operating on the ground, witnesses said on Tuesday (Oct 31).

Witnesses said Israeli forces targeted Gaza’s main north-south road on Monday and attacked Gaza City from two directions. Israel said its troops freed a soldier from Hamas captivity.


A 'spider web' of Hamas tunnels in Gaza Strip raises risks amid Israeli ground offensive

The militant group has so far released four civilians from the 240 hostages Israel says were captured in the Oct 7 attacks in which about 1,400 people were killed. Many of the hostages are believed to be held in the tunnels.

Gaza health authorities say that 8,306 people, including 3,457 minors, have been killed in Israeli attacks since Oct 7. UN officials say more than 1.4 million of Gaza’s civilian population of about 2.3 million have been made homeless.

Reuters has been unable to independently verify casualty counts.

The al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, said militants clashed early on Tuesday with Israeli forces invading southern Gaza. Four vehicles were targeted with al-Yassin 105 missiles, it said, referring to locally produced anti-tank missiles.

The militants also fired at two Israeli tanks and bulldozers in northwest Gaza, al-Qassam said. In Beit Hanoun, in the northeast, they “liquidated” an Israeli unit which was ambushed as it entered a building.

Reuters was unable to confirm the reports of fighting. The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the Hamas accounts.

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