Dozens of terrorists killed in ‘10-hour battle underground’, IDF says

Israel claims it has destroyed 130 tunnel entrances since the beginning of the war

Israel said it fought Hamas “underground” and captured a key stronghold during a 10-hour battle in which it claims dozens of terrorists were killed.

Troops of the Nahal Brigade took control of a Hamas bunker, known as outpost 17, in west Jabaliya where they battled Hamas and Islamic Jihad “above ground and in an underground route”, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said.

Soldiers reportedly located many and uncovered tunnel shafts, including one located adjacent to a kindergarten that led to an “extensive underground route.”

“Significant” Hamas battle plans were also found in outpost 17, the IDF added.

Israel claims it has destroyed 130 tunnel entrances since the beginning of the war.

Israeli air strikes continue to pound Gaza City as soldiers battle street-by-street with Hamas terrorists.

On Wednesday, the IDF said 50,000 people had fled their homes in the main battle zone of northern Gaza, a sharp increase from earlier this week, adding to the more than 1.5 million people already seeking safety in the south of the coastal strip.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) confirmed the figure and warned conditions were desperate in battle zones north of the central Wadi Gaza district.

UN rights chief Volker Turk condemned Israel over its bombardment and its orders for Gazans to flee.

“The collective punishment by Israel of Palestinian civilians amounts also to a war crime, as does the unlawful forcible evacuation of civilians,” he told reporters at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, the only route out of Gaza not controlled by Israel.

People continue to flee their homes in the main battle zone of northern Gaza

An Israeli military official insisted the Gaza Strip was not in a humanitarian crisis, even as he acknowledged the Palestinian territory faces several challenges amid the ongoing war.

“We know the civil situation in the Gaza Strip is not an easy one,” said Colonel Moshe Tetro, head of coordination and liaison at Cogat, the Israeli defence ministry body handling civil affairs in Gaza.

“But I can say that there is no humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip,” he told reporters.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians desperate for safety have fled their homes southwards in the besieged territory.

The Israeli army has not given specifics on troop movements as it presses its ground assault.

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