Hamas releases 2 Israeli hostages as more aid reaches Gaza

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-10-24 09:42
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People check buildings destroyed after Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Oct 23, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

Meanwhile, Israel continued its bombardment of Gaza with hundreds of air attacks on the besieged coastal enclave. According to the Gaza-based Palestinian Health Ministry, at least 436 Palestinians were killed in the last 24 hours, pushing the total death toll in Gaza to at least 5,087, which includes around 2,055 children.

Having entered its 17th day, the conflict has also killed over 1,400 people in Israel, according to official statistics.

The Israeli military reported the killing of five commanders from Hamas' aerial array, responsible for Gaza's air defense, in addition to "dozens" of Palestinian militants.

As the airstrikes intensified, the Israeli army prepared for a potential ground offensive, deploying tens of thousands of troops and conducting training exercises.

The IDF also carried out limited ground raids in Gaza. "During the night, there were raids by tank and infantry forces," Hagari told reporters during a daily briefing on Monday, saying that the raids were carried out "deep" in Gaza.

The raids and air strikes "have been carried out as part of the preparations for the next stage of the war," Hagari added.

On Sunday, Hamas said it destroyed an Israeli tank and two armored bulldozers and forced an Israeli force infiltrating east of Khan Younis in south Gaza to withdraw. The Israeli military also confirmed that a soldier was killed and three others were wounded by an anti-tank missile during a raid inside Gaza.

Meanwhile, more rockets were still launched from Gaza towards southern Israel, hitting an apartment in the southern Israeli city of Sderot. No injuries were reported, as most residents in the city had already been evacuated to central Israel.


Fighting also continued along Israel's northern border with Lebanon. Israel's Magen David Adom rescue service reported that a ten-year-old girl and a 39-year-old man sustained minor injuries on Monday when an anti-tank missile struck the backyard of a house in Kiryat Shmona, a northern city that Israel had commenced evacuating on Friday.

The Israeli military responded by launching drone and artillery attacks on two groups of fighters who were attempting to fire anti-tank missiles from Lebanon into Israeli territory.

Lebanese army sources said a Hezbollah fighter was killed during clashes with the Israeli army on the border. This incident brought the total number of Hezbollah fighters killed within a 24-hour period to five, with four others wounded.

Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7, firing thousands of rockets and sending its militants into Israeli territory, to which Israel responded with massive airstrikes and punitive measures, including a siege on the enclave with supplies of water, electricity, fuel, and other necessities being cut off.

On Oct. 8, Hezbollah fired multiple rockets toward Israeli military sites in support of Hamas, prompting heavy artillery from the Israeli side. Since then, the Israel-Lebanon border has seen escalating tensions, increasing the odds of a broader war in the region.

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