Hamas, Israeli army intensify fighting in Gaza

People mourn victims killed in Israeli airstrikes in the southern Gaza

Strip city of Rafah, on Dec. 7, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) has intensified its battle against the Israeli army as the deadly conflict enters the third month on Thursday.

Overnight, the Israeli army continued its ground incursion into various areas of the Gaza Strip, leading to at least 50 Palestinians killed and dozens of others wounded, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.

Israeli army spokesman Avichai Adraee said that the Israeli forces clashed with an armed cell emerging from a tunnel in Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip, where several militants were eliminated and the tunnel opening was destroyed.

He added that the naval forces launched attacks on infrastructure and military complexes using precision weapons and missiles, as part of the support to forces operating on the ground.

In a photo released by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Wednesday on its X account, five of the 11 Hamas commanders shown in the picture were claimed to have been "eliminated."

They were hiding in a tunnel located near the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza during the strike, said the post.

Meanwhile, al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, claimed responsible for sniping at six Israeli soldiers, setting up booby-trapping, and blowing up a house with a barrel bomb in eastern Khan Younis where several other soldiers were barricaded.

The Israeli army announced on Wednesday that 10 Israeli soldiers, including officers, were killed by the Palestinian militants in Gaza, bringing the number of Israeli army deaths to 411 since the start of the conflict on Oct. 7.

Also on Thursday, Palestine, Iran, and Qatar welcomed the initiative of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to call for a session of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip based on Article 99 of the UN Charter.

On Wednesday, Guterres wrote to the president of the UNSC to demand action, invoking Article 99 for the first time since he became UN secretary-general in 2017.

Article 99 states that "the UN secretary-general may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter that in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security."

Since Oct. 7, Israel has been launching a large-scale attack against Hamas in Gaza under the name "Iron Swords," which has left 17,177 Palestinians dead, and more than 46,000 injured, said the Gaza-based Health Ministry on Thursday.

The conflict began after Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on southern Israel, which claimed the lives of around 1,200 Israelis, according to the Israeli authorities.