Israel says it has killed ‘dozens of terrorists’ during ‘fierce’ fighting ‘deep’ inside Gaza as soldiers scour streets for gunmen amid raging battles in bid to free hostages from Hamas’ tunnel network

Israel today said it has killed ‘dozens’ of Hamas terrorists during ‘fierce’ fighting ‘deep’ inside Gaza with video showing soldiers scouring the streets for the gunmen amid raging battles. 

Israeli troops attacked Hamas positions within the terrorists’ vast tunnel network in a bid to free hostages trapped there – a key objective for Israel as it expands ground operations inside Gaza to wipe out Hamas following its gun rampage three weeks ago that killed over 1,400 people.

In the fifth day of major ground operations inside northern Gaza, the army said it had engaged in ‘fierce battles’ with Hamas terrorists, with footage showing columns of tanks and soldiers advancing further into the besieged enclave.

The IDF said its forces ‘struck a Hamas terrorist outpost’ in the northern Gaza Strip in the last few hours where they killed ‘dozens’ of gunmen and destroyed anti-tank missile launch and observation posts. 

Video released by the IDF shows Israeli troops walking through the bombed out streets of northern Gaza while raising their guns at the destroyed buildings – ready to pounce at any movement of Hamas terrorists potentially hiding within. 

The army said it had hit around 300 targets and confiscated ‘numerous weapons’ such as guns and bombs as well as ‘military compounds inside underground tunnels’ belonging to Hamas terrorists. 

The tunnels under the cramped enclave are a prime objective for Israel. Some of the 240 hostages that Israel says were seized by Hamas that day are believed to be held in the tunnel complex, adding a further complication for the Israelis on top of the difficulties of fighting in an urban setting. 

An Israeli tank is seen pushing through Gaza amid Israel’s ground invasion on Tuesday 

Israeli soldiers are seen marching through Gaza after Israel said its forces battled Hamas gunmen inside the terrorists’ vast tunnel network beneath Gaza

Israeli soldiers gather near the border with Gaza before entering the Palestinian enclave on Tuesday amid ongoing battles 

Israeli troops are seen ‘deep’ within the territory of the Gaza Strip 

Israeli soldiers raise their guns and fire at targets in Gaza 

Israeli forces entered Gaza on tanks in the fourth night of major ground operations inside northern Gaza overnight

Palestinian children mourn relatives killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, in front of the morgue in Deir al Balah on Tuesday

In response, Hamas gunmen attacked Israeli forces with machine gun fire and anti-tank missiles. ‘The soldiers killed terrorists and directed air forces to real-time strikes on targets and terror infrastructure,’ the IDF said. 

And Hamas terrorists launched nine Grad rockets at the southern city of Ashdod today, leaving four people injured, one of whom is said to be ‘very serious’. Video shows cars engulfed in flames, with black smoke filling the air. 

The fighting came after Netanyahu on Monday evening slapped aside a call from 120 countries for a sustained humanitarian truce, saying such a ceasefire would be ‘surrendering’ to Hamas. 

‘This will not happen,’ the premier said, vowing Israel would ‘fight until this battle is won’. ‘Calls for a ceasefire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas,’ he said.

Israel launched the war on October 7 in retribution for Hamas-led raids on Israeli homes, farms and villages that killed an estimated 1,400 people, according to Israeli officials.

More than three weeks of massive and sustained Israeli aerial bombardments have been followed by a large-scale ground offensive inside Gaza.

The al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing, said militants also clashed early on Tuesday with Israeli forces invading Gaza’s south, hitting four Israeli vehicles with missiles.

Militants also fired at two Israeli tanks as well as 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. MailOnline is not able to verify these claims.

On Monday, witnesses said Israeli forces targeted Gaza’s main north-south road on Monday and attacked Gaza City from two directions. They said they saw ‘dozens’ of Israeli tanks operating on the southern outskirts of Gaza City.

Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said ground operations are focused on northern Gaza, including Gaza City, which he said was the ‘centr of gravity of Hamas.’

‘But we also continue to strike in other parts of Gaza. We are hunting their commanders, we are attacking their infrastructure, and whenever there is an important target that is related to Hamas, we strike it,’ he said.

Israel’s military also released images of mechanized units grinding through coastal sands in northern Gaza. Video also shows soldiers walking across an open area as heavy gunfire echoes in the background and setting up a position in the ruins of a heavily damaged building.

They claimed an early victory: the rescue of one missing woman soldier from Hamas captivity.

The release of Private Ori Megidish, 19, was ‘secured during a ground operation’ inside Gaza the army said, adding she was now in Israel, reunited with family and was ‘doing well’.

‘She has provided intelligence that we’ll be able to use for future operations’ said army spokesman Jonathan Conricus. ‘We are committed and determined to get all of the 238 hostages that are still inside Gaza,’ he added. The IDF has since increased the number of hostages to 240. 

But the toll of Israel’s war in Gaza has sparked a global backlash.

Conricus said some 800,000 people have heeded the Israeli military’s orders to flee from the northern part of the strip to the south. But tens of thousands of people remain in and around Gaza City, and casualties are expected to mount on both sides as the battle moves into dense, residential neighbourhoods. 

According to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry, Israel’s relentless bombing campaign has killed 8,306 people, including 3,457 children, since October 7.