Fighting continues in Gaza, Israel says it has arrested a Hamas commander

A Hamas official indicated on Sunday that fighting with Israeli troops continued near the northern border of the Gaza Strip, while an Israeli military spokesman said a commander of the Palestinian Islamist group had been arrested.

Abu Obeida, a spokesman for Hamas’ military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, said fighting continued with Israeli forces in several areas, including the town of Zikim and the kibbutzim of Sufa and Mefalsim. His soldiers captured a new group of Israelites.

In a statement released on Sunday, Abu Obaidah asserted that members of Hamas killed or wounded scores of Israeli soldiers in the town of Mawkim, south of Ashkelon.

In turn, the Israeli Navy’s special forces captured Mohammed Abu Khali, the deputy commander of the southern wing of the Hamas navy in Gaza, an Israeli military spokesman said.

The same spokesman said the military chief of Hamas had been detained by Israeli security forces and was being questioned.

Operation “Storm Al-Aqsa”

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israeli territory on Saturday, dubbed the “Al-Aqsa Storm,” launching thousands of rockets and a ground, sea and air incursion by armed fighters.

In response, Israel launched aerial bombardments of several Hamas facilities in the Gaza Strip, using the so-called “Iron Swords”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared that Israel is “at war” with Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States and the European Union (EU).

The most recent report from the Palestinian Ministry of Health on Sunday recorded 413 deaths from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, raising the total number of deaths on both sides of the armed conflict that began on Saturday to more than 1,100. Spanish agency EFE quoted the ministry as saying that of the 413 dead, 78 were minors and 41 were women.

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The death toll is likely to rise after two towers in Gaza City were hit in the past few hours. These victims were added to more than 700 deaths in the most recent report by the Israeli Ministry of Health published on Sunday.

The high number of confirmed deaths in 24 hours is unprecedented in Israel’s history, comparable to the bloody first Arab-Israeli war in 1948 after the establishment of the State of Israel.

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