Conflicts & War

Israel continues Gaza offensive as conflict enters 86th day

Jerusalem, Dec 31 (EFE).- Israeli troops on Sunday continued their offensive by land, air and sea across the length of the Gaza Strip, as the conflict with the Islamist group Hamas that governs the enclave entered its 86th day.

Israel stepped up its operations in the south, where senior Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar is believed to be hiding.

In Gaza City, several “terrorists” were “eliminated” after their vehicle approached Israeli toops, an army spokesperson said.

In the north of the enclave, a building was destroyed by bombs after “three terrorists” were spotted entering it.

Nearby, in the Shati refugee camp, Israeli troops “found a kindergarten where there was terrorist infrastructure, including explosive devices” which were neutralized, the army said.

In the south of the enclave, the soldiers discovered two tunnel entrances and in Khan Yunis, the main militia stronghold in the area, “they identified three terrorists and conducted an airstrike”.

“We give full backing to our forces,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after a meeting with his cabinet in which he stressed that the state had allocated 9 billion shekels (2.25 billion euros) in compensation to army reservists and their families.

The war erupted on Oct. 7 following a massive Hamas attack that included rocket fire and the simultaneous infiltration of some 3,000 militiamen who massacred some 1,200 people and kidnapped 250 others in towns near Gaza.

On Saturday, Netanyahu assured that the war – which has left 506 soldiers dead, 172 of them in the ground incursion – “will last several more months”, while still not giving details on how the hostages still held captive in the Strip will be freed, nor specifying what Israel’s post-war plan for the enclave is.

The Israeli army has maintained a heavy air, land and sea offensive against the Gaza Strip, where more than 21,800 Palestinians have been killed and 56,400 wounded, most of them children and women, in addition to another 7,000 missing under the rubble, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.

Arguing that Hamas uses civilian infrastructure for its military operations, Israel has bombed homes, schools, hospitals, temples, water treatment and supply plants, as well as telecommunications and power supply facilities.

The war has left some 1.9 million people displaced in Gaza, 85% of the Strip’s population, living in the midst of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis due to the collapse of hospitals, the outbreak of epidemics and shortages of drinking water, food, medicine, electricity and fuel. EFE

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