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Hamas confronts Israeli troops with 'full force' amid fierce battles in Gaza

This photo shows the aftermath of an Israeli bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip on October 28, 2023. (Via social media networks)

Hamas and Israeli troops are engaged in a fierce battle in the Gaza Strip as Tel Aviv expands its ground offensive and cuts communications to the besieged area.

The al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, said in a statement that it was fighting Israeli forces in two areas inside the Gaza Strip early on Saturday as the Israeli war against the Palestinians in Gaza entered its 22nd day.

"We are confronting an Israeli ground incursion in Beit Hanoun (in the northern Gaza Strip) and east Bureij (in the center) and violent engagements are taking place on the ground," the statement said.

The Israeli military claimed that its fighter jets had struck 150 "underground targets" in northern Gaza and killed “several” Hamas fighters during intense overnight raids. The Israeli military said the targeted sites included "tunnels, underground combat spaces and additional underground infrastructure.” 

A spokesman for the Gaza Civil Defense said Israeli airstrikes destroyed hundreds of buildings overnight.

"Hundreds of buildings and houses were completely destroyed and thousands of other homes were damaged," Mahmud Bassal told AFP, adding that the intense bombardments had "changed the landscape" of northern Gaza. 

Israel has been waging a ferocious war against Gaza since October 7, when Hamas and its fellow Gaza-based resistance movement of the Islamic Jihad launched their biggest operation against Israel in years. The surprise Palestinian offensive, dubbed Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, came in response to the regime’s intensified crimes against the Palestinian people.

The death toll in Gaza since the start of Israeli aggression has reached over 7,400 -- more than 3,000 of them children -- with upwards of 20,500 wounded.

Ready to confront with 'full force'

In a statement on Saturday, Hamas underlined that its forces in Gaza were ready to confront Israeli attacks with "full force" following reports of the Israeli military’s intention to widen its air and ground invasion of the besieged strip amid widespread disruption of communications services.

The Palestinian resistance movement described the Israeli military as a “defeated army” and said the regime’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not achieve any victory in his all-out war on Gaza.

"The al-Qassam brigades and all the Palestinian resistance forces are completely ready to confront Israel's aggression with full force and frustrate its incursions," Hamas said in the statement.

"Netanyahu and his defeated army will not be able to achieve any military victory.”

By early Saturday morning, a cutoff in internet and phone services - which telecoms firms and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said was a result of Israeli bombardments – had been continuing for more than 10 hours.

Hamas said all internet connections and communications across Gaza had been cut and that Israel was taking the measure "to perpetrate massacres with bloody retaliatory strikes from the air, land and sea.”

Human rights groups said warned that the near-total telecommunications blackout in Gaza risks providing cover for "mass atrocities.”

The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly passed on Friday a resolution calling for the implementation of an immediate "humanitarian truce" in Gaza.

The vote at the General Assembly came after the United Nations Security Council failed four times to take action due to the US's recurrently casting its veto against relevant resolutions.

The United States and Israel's other Western backers have supported the regime's crimes in Gaza as a means of "self-defense."

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