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Israel and Hamas engage in direct clashes near Gaza border crossing as IDF ground operation intensifies
29 October 2023, 19:21 | Updated: 29 October 2023, 19:55
Direct clashes have broken out between Israeli soldiers and Hamas in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, as Israel's ground operation continues to intensify.
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Israel's Defence Force (IDF) said it had killed members of Hamas near the Erez crossing, marking some of the first direct clashes between the two groups since Hamas' terrorist attack on October 7, The Times reports.
It is unclear how many members of Hamas were killed by Israeli soldiers.
The Erez crossing is a border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
It comes as Israel's ground offensive against Hamas intensifies, after more soldiers moved into Gaza overnight into Sunday.
A spokesperson for the army said on Sunday: "Overnight we increased the entry of IDF forces into the Strip, and they joined the forces already fighting there.
"We're gradually expanding the ground activities and the extent of our forces in the Gaza Strip.
"The ground operation is complex and involves risks for our forces too.
"We will do everything in our power - from the air, sea and ground - to ensure the safety of our forces and to achieve the war's objectives."
Meanwhile, Israel has told the Al-Quds hospital to evacuate, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent, which is based in Gaza.
Patients in intensive care units and babies in incubators would be impossible to move, the organisation has warned.
The hospital's surrounding area has been subject to bombardment throughout Sunday, with around 14,000 civilians sheltering in Al-Quds hospital.
Israel has been carrying out a retaliatory bombardment campaign in Gaza since Hamas' terrorist attack on October 7, in which more than 1,400 Israelis were killed.
Addressing his country on Saturday evening, Mr Netanyahu said that the war against Hamas had "entered a new stage", as he confirmed soldiers on the ground in Gaza have "very clear objectives".
Mr Netanyahu also warned that the war against Hamas was going to be a "long one"."We will win. We will prevail," he said.
"We will fight and we will not surrender. We will not withdraw. Overground and underground."
The Israeli Prime Minister reiterated that he was doing everything he could to ensure the safe return of hostages being held captive by Hamas.