Israeli warplanes fired another wave of heavy airstrikes in the Gaza Strip on Monday, destroying about 60 miles of armed tunnels and the homes of nine Hamas commanders – and also killing a senior Islamic jihad leader, the military said.
As escalating hostilities entered their second week, the Gaza Ministry of Health said 198 people were killed, including 58 children and 35 women, and about 1,300 were injured in the fighting.
The ministry did not specify how many of the dead belonged to Hamas or other terrorist groups, but Israeli Defense Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told a news briefing Monday that “the most conservative estimate” was that 130 enemy fighters had been killed.
On the Israeli side, 10 people were killed in the fighting, including a soldier and a 5-year-old boy.
Conricus told reporters Monday that ISIS had killed Husam Abu Harbid, who commanded the northern Gaza Brigade of Islamic Jihad and led attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians for nearly 15 years.
In a statement, the ISIS said Harbid was “behind several anti-tank missile terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians.” One of those attacks took place on the first day of the current round of fighting, when a civilian was wounded, Conricus said.
There was no immediate confirmation from the Islamic Jihad or its armed wing, the al-Quds Brigades, of the killing.
Conricus also announced on Monday that he had destroyed only about 60 miles of war tunnels.
“Our fighters neutralized 9.3 miles of Hamas’s Metro terrorist tunnel system overnight. That’s 9.3 miles that can no longer be used for terror, “said a statement before the updated information was provided by Conricus.
There was no direct news of the victims of the recent strikes.
A three-story building in Gaza City was severely damaged, but residents say IDs warned them 10 minutes before the strike and they all managed to escape.
Gaza Mayor Yahya Saraj told Al-Jazeera television that the strikes had caused extensive damage to roads and other infrastructure.
“If the aggression continues, we expect conditions to worsen,” he said.
Israeli defense forces have hit more than 1,180 targets in the area since the start of Operation Guardian of the Walls, according to Haaretz Daily.
About 3,200 rockets were fired at Israel, about 460 of which fell and landed in the Strip, Conricus said. IDF’s Iron ID defense system has removed about 90 percent of the shells, he said.
In another development Monday, a rocket fired by militants struck a building in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod, slightly injuring residents. Rockets also hit buildings in Ashkelon.
The war erupted on May 10 when Hamas fighters fired long-range missiles at Jerusalem after weeks of clashes in the holy city between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police.
The protests focused on police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a group revered by Jews and Muslims during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and the threat of evicting dozens of Palestinian families from Jewish settlers.
“I have not seen this level of destruction in my 14 years of work – even during the 2014 war,” said Samir al-Khatib, an emergency rescue officer in Gaza, referring to the most devastating of the three previous wars between Israel and Hamas.
Despite international ceasefire efforts, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that ISIS attacks were continuing in “full force” and would “take time”.
Israel “wants to impose a high price” on Hamas, he said.
Hamas-based foreign leader Ismail Hanie said the group had been contacted by the United States, Russia, Egypt and Qatar as part of a ceasefire effort, but “will not make a decision that does not depend on the victims.” of the Palestinian people. “
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has said his government is working “urgently” to end the violence.
With Post wires