Jerusalem, Oct 11 (EFE).- Israel continued to pound the Gaza Strip with almost 100 air strikes against Hamas targets in the central part of the enclave on Wednesday as the combined death toll in the conflict crossed 3,500.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that it bombed 200 targets in the Al-Furqan area inside Gaza.
It is the third attack on Al-Furqan, which the IDF said was “used as a terror nest” for the Hamas militant group that rules the Strip, in the last 24 hours.
Dozens of Israeli planes conducted overnight strikes against 70 targets across the Daraj Tufah area, which the Israeli military said was used by Hamas to carry out attacks against Israel.
The IDF also attacked a building allegedly used by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad paramilitary organization and announced that it killed several Hamas militants at the Erez crossing, the main border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
The Israeli military said it killed “three terrorists” in the coastal city of Ashkelon, located 56 kilometers (35 miles) south of Tel Aviv, on Tuesday night.
The IDF soldiers, who were assisted by a remotely manned aircraft and a combat helicopter, exchanged fire with a number of terrorists in the Ashkelon industrial area, before killing three, and are continuing to search the area, the military said.
On Tuesday, Israel regained control of the border areas following a multi-pronged offensive on Saturday 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.
On Wednesday, Israeli troops freed the kibbutz of Kfar Aza, one of the communities closest to the Gaza strip, with only 800 inhabitants.
Although Israel has regained control of all its territory, it has warned that there may still be terrorists who have infiltrated the country.
The ongoing conflict, now in its fifth day, has led to thousands of casualties on both sides.
According to Palestinian authorities, Israeli strikes in the enclave since Saturday have caused 830 deaths, many of them civilians.
An IDF spokesperson on Wednesday put the death toll on the Israeli side at 1,200, “the overwhelming majority of them civilians“ and the wounded at over 2,700 and warned that the toll was likely to rise as more bodies were discovered.
The Israeli military had said on Tuesday that it had retrieved the bodies of 1,500 Hamas fighters on its territory.
Israel has also suffered attacks in recent hours by Lebanon-based Hezbollah fighters as well as from Syria. EFE