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Hamas says it fires on Israeli forces to launch ground attack


  • LATEST DEVELOPMENTS:
  • Militants strike Israeli military positions in north and south Gaza, Hamas says
  • Netanyahu says stopping fighting ‘will not happen’
  • UN says all Israeli water supplies to Gaza cut off

GAZA/JERUSALEM, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Hamas said its militants in Gaza fired anti-tank missiles at invading Israeli forces on Tuesday and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected calls for an end to the fighting that worsened the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian enclave.

Israel has expanded its ground operations in Gaza in a bid to punish the Gaza Strip’s ruling Hamas movement for a deadly weapons rampage three weeks ago that Israeli authorities say killed more than 1,400 people.

Witnesses said Israeli forces targeted Gaza’s main north-south highway on Monday and attacked Gaza City from two directions. Israel said its troops had freed a captive Hamas soldier, one of 239 hostages that Israel said were captured on October 7.

The al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, said militants clashed early Tuesday with Israeli forces “invading the southern axis of Gaza, (including) with machine guns, and targeted four vehicles with al-Yassin 105 missiles”, referring to locally produced missiles. anti-tank missiles.

The militants also targeted two Israeli tanks and bulldozers in northwest Gaza with the missiles, al-Qassam said.

Reuters was unable to confirm reports of fighting. The Israeli army had no immediate comment.

Gaza health authorities say 8,306 people, including 3,457 minors, have been killed in Israeli attacks since October 7. U.N. officials say more than 1.4 million of Gaza’s 2.3 million civilian residents have been left homeless.

The rising death toll has prompted calls from the United States, Israel’s main ally, other countries and the United Nations for a pause in fighting to allow more humanitarian aid to be delivered. ‘reach the enclave.

Netanyahu said Monday evening that Israel would not accept a cessation of hostilities with Hamas in Gaza and would continue with plans to eliminate the group.

“Calls for a ceasefire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to terrorism, to barbarism. This will not happen,” Netanyahu said in a televised speech.

Military specialists said Israeli forces are moving slowly in their ground offensive, in part to leave open the possibility that Hamas militants will negotiate the release of the hostages.

The relative caution with which Israeli troops seized and secured slices of territory during the first days of sustained ground operations in Gaza contrasts with the past three weeks of relentless airstrikes on the Mediterranean enclave, as well as previous ones. Israel’s ground offensives there. .

“CATASTROPHE ON DISASTER”

The Israeli military said it had struck more than 600 militant targets in recent days in Gaza, where Palestinian civilians are in dire need of fuel, food and clean water.

The United Nations humanitarian office (OCHA) said water supplies via a pipeline linking Israel to southern Gaza were cut off on Monday “for unknown reasons”, and announced repairs to another pipeline to the center of Gaza did not take place.

“At the time of writing, no water is being supplied to Gaza from Israel,” OCHA said on its website.

Far fewer humanitarian aid trucks reached the besieged enclave than needed, U.N. officials said, and civil order was broken down with people storming U.N. warehouses in search of of food.

This knocked out four UN aid distribution centers and a storage facility, the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) said on Monday.

“This is disaster on top of disaster. Health needs are skyrocketing and our capacity to meet them is rapidly diminishing,” said World Health Organization regional emergency chief Rick Brennan, reiterating international calls for a ceasefire to allow a larger humanitarian operation.

Aid trucks arrived in Gaza from Egypt last week via Rafah, the main crossing point that does not border Israel. It has become the main delivery point for aid since Israel imposed a “total siege” of Gaza after October 7.

The White House said it was working to get more aid trucks to Gaza.

HOSTAGES

Hamas released a video on Monday showing three hostages captured by the Islamist movement on October 7.

The women – identified by Netanyahu as Yelena Trupanob, Danielle Aloni and Rimon Kirsht – sat side by side against a bare wall, and Aloni sent an angry message to the prime minister.

Netanyahu condemned the video as “cruel psychological propaganda” and said Israel’s ground campaign created opportunities to rescue the hostages.

The conflict has led to protests around the world in support of the Palestinians, as well as anti-Semitic and Islamophobic harassment.

Biden administration officials, concerned about reports of anti-Jewish incidents at U.S. universities, met with American Jewish leaders on Monday to discuss measures to counter the surge, a House official said White.

In Russia, President Vladimir Putin accused the West and Ukraine of stirring up unrest in Russia after rioters in the predominantly Muslim region of Dagestan stormed an airport to “grab” Jewish passengers on a flight from Tel Aviv.

Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Yomna Ehab, Ali Swafta, James Mackenzie, Henriette Chacar, Dan Williams, Emma Farge and Jonathan Landay; Written by Idrees Ali; Editing by Rami Ayyub and Stephen Coates

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Senior correspondent with nearly 25 years of experience covering the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, including several wars and the signing of the first historic peace agreement between the two sides.

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