Hamas has released footage purportedly showing its fighters clashing with Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian militants can be seen apparently climbing out of an underground tunnel and firing what appears to be grenade launchers, as Israel‘s days-long ground offensive continues deeper into the territory in its attempt to “wipe out” Hamas.
An Israeli tank seems to be hit in the attack and then explodes in a ball of fire.
It comes as a senior Hamas official called for the “annihilation” of Israel, and the Israeli military said its forces were at the “gates of Gaza City”.
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The tank attack is thought to be captured from a militant’s headcam or bodycam video.
Elsewhere in the footage, a Hamas fighter fires what seems to be a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at an unidentified target in a forest.
Sky News has been unable to verify the locations and date of the footage, but Hamas claims it was filmed east of Zeitoun in northern Gaza.
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) says 16 of its soldiers have been killed in the ground operation in Gaza across Tuesday and Wednesday this week.
Hamas’s anti-tank missile unit leader killed, says Israel
Meanwhile, the IDF’s Brigadier General Itzik Cohen, commander of the 162nd armoured division, said his troops were deep in Gaza.
“We are located at the gates of Gaza City,” he told reporters.
Brig. Gen. Cohen added that over the past five days “we have destroyed much of Hamas’s capabilities, attacked its strategic facilities, all of its array of explosives, its underground tunnels and other facilities we completely destroyed”.
But he also cautioned it was a “long task” and there was still much work to do.
The IDF also said one of its airstrikes on Wednesday killed Muhammad A’sar, who it claimed was the head of Hamas’s anti-tank missile unit in Gaza.
According to the military, A’sar was “responsible for all of Hamas’s anti-tank missile units throughout the Gaza Strip, commanded the units in routine times, and assisted their activity in emergencies”.
Hamas threatens further attacks
Earlier, Hamas official Ghazi Hamad, from the group’s political bureau, told Lebanese TV Israel’s “occupation must come to an end. I am talking about all the Palestinian lands”.
Asked by the interviewer: “Does that mean the annihilation of Israel?”, he replied: “Yes of course.”
He said “we are the victims” and vowed that the group would carry out more attacks like it did on 7 October, when militants stormed the Israel border and killed more than 1,400 Israelis in what Hamas called the “Al Aqsa Flood”. Hamas also took more than 200 hostages during the raids.
Mr Hamad said: “The Al Aqsa Flood is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth, because we have the determination, the resolve, and the capabilities to fight.”
The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says at least 8,796 Palestinians in the narrow coastal enclave, including 3,648 children, have been killed by Israeli strikes since the 7 October attack.
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Second day of strikes on refugee camp reported
On Wednesday, the Hamas-run government said Israeli airstrikes hit apartment buildings in the Jabalia refugee camp near Gaza City for a second day in a row, causing many deaths and injuries.
The previous day, Palestinian health officials said an Israeli airstrike killed about 50 people and wounded 150 there.
Israel said it killed Hamas commander Ibrahim Biari in Tuesday’s attack, who reportedly was a key planner in the 7 October massacre.
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Hamas’s military infrastructure, including hundreds of miles of underground tunnels, is concentrated in Gaza City, according to Israeli officials.
There was no immediate confirmation on possible casualties from the second explosion, but footage showed smoke billowing above the camp and people sifting through piles of rubble and carrying away the injured.