Jerusalem/Gaza, Oct 10 (EFE).- The Israeli military claimed on Tuesday that it had retrieved the bodies of 1,500 Hamas fighters on its territory, pushing the death toll in the war with the Palestinian Islamist group to over 3,000 on both sides.
Military spokesperson Richard Hecht said Israel had “largely regained control” over the border areas following a multi-pronged offensive by Hamas militants who infiltrated Israeli territory, catching its security forces off-guard and resulting in the deaths of hundreds, including civilians and security personnel, as well as the abduction of around 100.
“Approximately 1,500 bodies of Hamas militants were found in Israel around the Gaza Strip,” said Hecht.
He said the infiltration from the Gaza Strip had ceased, with no crossings since Monday night, but cautioned that further infiltration was still possible.
The ongoing conflict, now in its fourth day, has led to thousands of casualties on both sides.
According to Palestinian authorities, Israeli strikes in the enclave since Saturday have caused nearly 700 deaths, including 140 children, and nearly 4,000 injuries, in addition to the Hamas fighters killed in clashes with Israeli troops.
Israeli airstrikes have razed several residential buildings and mosques in the Gaza Strip, displacing thousands.
The United Nations estimated that more than 187,000 people have been displaced in Gaza as a result of the war, and the number is expected to rise as Israel continues its relentless aerial bombardment of the already blockaded enclave.
Approximately 137,500 of the displaced have sought refuge in schools operated by the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), where conditions are extremely precarious, and the supply of drinking water is severely limited.
In Israel, the death toll has climbed to 900, with over 2,600 individuals wounded, according to reports from local media citing health sources.
Among the casualties from the Hamas attack are foreign nationals and dual citizens hailing from Brazil, France, Mexico, Nepal, Thailand, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The Israeli military said it hit more than 1,700 targets affiliated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip in an intensified campaign of aerial bombardment on Monday night, following Defense Minister Yoav Gallant’s announcement that the government had ordered a tightening of the siege on Gaza, home to over 2.3 million people.
Gaza has been under blockade by Israel and Egypt since the Islamist Hamas group seized power in 2007.
“Nothing is allowed in or out. There will be no fuel, electricity, or food supplies,” Gallant said. “We fight animals in human form and proceed accordingly.”
In the early hours of Tuesday, dozens of Israeli warplanes targeted 200 Hamas and Islamic Jihad sites in the Gazan towns of Rimal and Khan Yunis.
In the early hours of Tuesday, dozens of Israeli warplanes bombed 200 Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in the Gazan towns of Rimal and Khan Yunis.
Hamas, designated a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union, said it continued to launch rockets toward the southern Israeli cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon in response to Israeli airstrikes.
The group threatened on Monday night to “publicly” execute Israeli civilian hostages if Israel continued its indiscriminate shelling of the strip.
“Any attack on innocent homes in Gaza without prior warning and alarm will be met with the public execution of a hostage,” said Abu Obeida, spokesperson for the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in a statement. “The execution will be of civilian hostages, not military hostages, and will be broadcast online.”
Hamas claimed that at least four of the 100 Israelis it is holding hostage have been killed in the Israeli bombings. EFE