A video shows what appear to be Israeli tanks on a main highway in Gaza today as ground assault operations against Hamas intensify.
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) earlier said more than ‘600 targets’ had been hit in 24 hours to pave the way for an increasing military presence on the ground with tanks, armoured vehicles, bulldozers and soldiers.
Unconfirmed footage reportedly taken by a Palestinian journalist shows a tank facing off against what looks like an estate car on the main Salah-al-Din Highway today. The road runs the length of the Gaza strip from the Egyptian crossing at Rafah in the south to the Israeli Erez crossing in the north.
In the video the car can be seen making a three-point turn seemingly to get away from the tank. Seconds later the tank appears to have opened fire and a large explosion can be seen engulfing the car.
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For security reasons the IDF have refused to comment on the locations of their forces inside Gaza and spokesman Daniel Hagari said: “We have expanded our operations, involving armour, infantry, and offensive actions within the Gaza Strip.”
In the video taken by Palestinian photojournalist Youssef Al Saifi the tanks appear to be operating on the main highway, according to a Hamas spokesperson Israeli tanks have now “retreated from the area”.
After filming the car being destroyed the journalist races away in terror in another car, screaming “Go back! Go back!” at an approaching ambulance and other vehicles.
The Gaza Health Ministry later said three people were killed in the struck car.
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The Israeli advances put their forces on both sides of Gaza City and the surrounding areas of northern Gaza, in what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a “second stage” of the war ignited by Hamas’ brutal October 7 terror attack.
Casualties on both sides are expected to rise sharply as Israeli forces and Palestinian militants battle in dense residential areas.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians remain in the north and would no longer be able to escape if the north-south highway is blocked. Around 117,000 displaced people are staying in hospitals in northern Gaza, alongside thousands of patients and staff, hoping they will be safe from strikes, according to UN figures.
Most residents heeded Israel’s orders to flee to the southern part of the besieged territory, but many stayed in part because Israel has also bombarded targets in so-called safe zones.
The death toll among Palestinians passed 8,000, mostly women and minors, the Gaza Health Ministry said. The toll is without precedent in decades of Israeli-Palestinian violence. More than 1.4 million people in Gaza have fled their homes.
Over 1,400 people have died on the Israeli side, mainly civilians killed during Hamas’ initial terror attack, also an unprecedented figure.
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