Despite international calls for a humanitarian ceasefire, Israel continued heavy bombings on the densely populated Gaza Strip on Wednesday, killing a senior Hamas commander in an airstrike, while the first group of evacuees entered Egypt since the Israel-Hamas conflict broke out on Oct. 7, reported Xinhua.
"We are advancing in the stages of the war and operating on the ground inside the enemy's territory," the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of the General Staff Herzi Halevi wrote in a letter sent to commanders and soldiers, vowing "it will be long, and we will fight until the end."
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said during a visit of armored troops deployed on the Gaza border that Israel would continue coordinated strikes on Gaza from the air, ground and sea, and the military has taken actions to expose tunnels to "deal heavy blows to enemies within."
The Israeli military revealed in a statement that based on IDF and ISA (U.S. Intelligence Support Activity) intelligence, an IDF fighter jet struck Muhammad A'sar, head of Hamas anti-tank missile unit who had commanded "numerous missile attacks" on Israeli targets.
The military also announced that at least 15 of its soldiers were killed in the past day in three separate incidents in the northern Gaza Strip.
On Wednesday, through the Rafah border crossing, the only lifeline for people seeking to leave the conflict-ravaged enclave, the first group of some 500 holders of foreign passports and some 80 injured people entered Egypt, according to Egyptian and Palestinian sources.
Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila said the Turkish hospital was out of service under Israeli strikes and fuel shortfall. Gazan medical officials also warned that the work of the largest Shifa Medical Complex, other hospitals and health institutions would stop within hours due to the exhaustion of fuel needed to operate electrical generators.
Palestinian health officials said more than 50 people were killed following an Israeli airstrike on the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza on Tuesday. Hamas said seven of its hostages, including three holding foreign passports, were killed in the Israeli bombing of the refugee camp.
The number of Palestinian casualties in Gaza has now reached at least 8,796, including 3,648 children and 2,290 women, according to the Gaza-based Health Ministry. While in the occupied West Bank, more than 132 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops and settlers.
More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, mostly civilians who were slain in the initial Hamas surprise attack on Oct. 7 that triggered the fighting, said the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Approximately 240 hostages were kidnapped from Israel into Gaza and Hamas released four women. A female Israeli soldier has been rescued in a special operation by Israeli forces, according to IDF.
Meanwhile, photos released by the Israeli military show Saar-class corvettes patrolling in the Red Sea, as the army confirmed missile boats were dispatched to the waters after Houthi forces in Yemen fired missiles and drones toward Israel's resort city of Eilat.
In southern Lebanon, a 16-year-old Lebanese boy was killed in an Israeli drone strike, while two shepherds lost lives after being shot by Israeli forces, Lebanese military sources told Xinhua.
The death toll from Hezbollah-Israeli confrontations since Oct. 8 rose to 63 on the Lebanese side, including 49 members of Hezbollah, in addition to nine members of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and Islamic Jihad in Lebanon, and five civilians.
On the diplomatic front, Bolivia has severed its diplomatic ties with Israel, citing the Palestinian death toll in Gaza. Meanwhile, Jordan, Chile, and Colombia have recalled their ambassadors.
Iran's supreme leader on Wednesday urged Muslim governments to unite and stop oil and other exports to Israel to pressure the latter to cease its attacks on Gaza.