Israel has killed a key Hamas commander as the death toll from airstrikes on Gaza topped 2,200 – with tanks now massing on the border in preparation for a full-scale ground invasion.
Murad Abu Murad, the head of the terror group’s aerial operations, was killed over the past day when fighter jets struck an operational centre, the Israeli military said today. Israel yesterday gave 1.1million civilians just 24 hours to escape to the south of the territory, a deadline that ended today at 3am BST.
The UN has asked it to be revoked, saying it was impossible without ‘devastating humanitarian consequences.
Families in cars, trucks and donkey carts packed with their possessions crowded a main road heading southward from Gaza City.
Hamas claims 70 people were killed when airstrikes struck a convoy of cars. Israeli military drones dropped flyers yesterday demanding that all Palestinians, including those critically ill in hospital, evacuate the northern half of the strip or risk being caught in a military escalation.
It said that Gazans could flee safely via two main roads between 10am and 4pm local time (8AM – 2pm BST).
The IDF then launched its first ‘localised’ raids into the territory, deploying columns of Merkava main battle tanks alongside elite troops to track down hostages and ‘cleanse the area of terrorists and weaponry’.
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has said the country would ‘never forget’ last Saturday’s terrorist attacks by Hamas and warned ‘this is just the beginning’.
An Israeli drone killed a number of militants who tried to infiltrate Israel from Lebanon, the Israeli army said today. The army said it was ‘very sorry’ for the death of Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah, who was killed in Lebanon during Israeli shelling.
At least 2,215 people have been killed by airstrikes on Gaza so far, with another 8,714 wounded.