The Israeli army has surrounded Gaza City, the capital of the Gaza Strip, and divided the northern and southern parts of the territory, marking a “significant stage” in its war with Hamas, military officials said.
According to Israeli media, troops are expected to begin marching through the streets of the capital from Monday or Tuesday, where they are expected to face Hamas operatives willing to fight street by street through their vast network of tunnels.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said Monday morning aircraft struck 450 targets overnight, including tunnels, military installations and anti-tank missile launch sites. Troops also reportedly seized a Hamas compound early Monday morning and killed a senior Hamas fighter.
Since the ground offensive on Gaza began a week ago, 30 IDF soldiers have been killed, which is in addition to the 1,400 people killed in Israel – most of them in the October 7 Hamas offensive that started the fighting. As of Monday morning, at least 242 hostages have also been taken by Israel in Gaza.
FOREIGN SURVIVORS OF VIOLENT HAMAS ATTACK IN ISRAEL TERROR RECALL: ‘EVERYTHING BURNED’
Communications in Gaza were disrupted late Sunday for several hours, according to the Internet access advocacy group NetBlocks.org and the Palestinian telecommunications company Paltel. The companies said cellphone and Internet service was restored Monday.
The situation remains dire in the north, as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians remain in Gaza City and other northern cities.
Food, medicine, water and fuel, which are needed for the generators that power the hospitals, are running out and Gaza’s only power station remains shut down. Schools turned into shelters run by the United Nations are beyond capacity, with many sleeping on the streets.
HAMAS ATTACK SURVIVOR DEMANDS 11-YEAR-OLD HERO’S RELEASE
While Israel has allowed humanitarian aid into the territory to help the millions of civilians affected by the ongoing fighting, it has not allowed fuel in, saying Hamas would steal it for military purposes.
More than 450 trucks carrying food, water, medicine and other basic aid have been allowed into Gaza from Egypt since October 21, but this has been insufficient to meet the growing needs of the region’s roughly 2.3 million Palestinians.
Israel continues to urge Gazans to leave their homes and head south, away from the ground invasion. About 800,000 people have heard the Israeli army’s orders to flee to southern Gaza.
HAMAS TERRORIST SURVIVOR HIDES IN GREENHOUSE FOR 16 HOURS WITHOUT FOOD, WATER: ‘I FEEL LIKE I’M GOING TO DIE’
About 1.5 million Palestinians, or about 70% of the population, have fled their homes since the war began on October 7.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Israel has rejected calls to end its ground operation or a broader ceasefire despite growing pressure to do so, including from the US and nearby Jordan and Egypt.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.