Palestinians walk among the rubble after Israeli air strikes on Tel al-Hawa neighborhood, in Gaza City, 30 October 2023. EFE/EPA/MOHAMMED SABER

Israeli tanks reach Gaza City; 4 ‘prominent’ Hamas militants killed

Gaza City, Oct 30 (EFE).- Israeli ground forces on Monday reached the outskirts of Gaza City, with tanks seen firing shells while driving north to south along one of the Palestinian enclave’s main arteries.

Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Daniel Hagari declined to provide specific details of the troops’ movements, only acknowledging that they were “making gradual progress” while warning that Israel’s “offensive activity will intensify.”

Smoke billows from residential buildings after Israeli air strikes in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood in Gaza City, 30 October 2023. EFE/EPA/MOHAMMED SABER

The army also said Monday that four “prominent” leaders of Hamas, the Islamist group that governs the Gaza Strip, had been killed by their ground troops in “recent hours.”

Among the dead was Jamil Baba, a commander of Hamas’ naval forces, Israeli intelligence sources said.

Israeli military sources confirmed Monday that they were expanding their ground operation, which began on Oct. 28, adding that several militant cells that attempted to attack had been “neutralized” with the support of Air Force helicopters and drones.

Israeli air strikes have also continued to hit the besieged Strip every day since Oct. 7.

Israeli soldiers aboard an armoured personnel carrier (APC) on patrol near the border with the Gaza Strip, southern Israel, 30 October 2023. EFE/EPA/HANNIBAL HANSCHKE

In recent days, the IDF claims to have attacked 600 targets in Gaza, including weapons depots, dozens of anti-tank missile launchers and Hamas hideouts.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas began Oct. 7 with the Palestinian Islamist group’s attack on Israeli soil, which left 1,400 dead, more than 5,400 wounded and 239 hostages who were taken to Gaza.

Since then, the Israeli army has been bombing Gaza daily in retaliation, and has imposed a siege of the enclave.

On Friday it expanded its ground operations, which has left more than 8,300 dead and more than 21,000 wounded. EFE