Israeli strikes pounded southern Gaza on Sunday, the 100th day of the war which has claimed a surging civilian death toll and ravaged the besieged Palestinian territory.
The conflict, sparked by deadly attacks on Israel, has created a dire humanitarian crisis for the 2.4 million people in Hamas-ruled Gaza, the UN and aid groups warn, and reduced much of the coastal strip to rubble.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose government has faced growing international pressure over civilian casualties in Gaza, vowed that “no one will stop us” from destroying Hamas.
The Hamas government media office on Sunday said: “More than 100 people were martyred in the attacks last night until 6am in all areas of the Gaza Strip”.
An AFP correspondent in Rafah, in southern Gaza near the border with Egypt, saw a thick column of smoke after strikes on the city where many displaced Palestinians have sought shelter in makeshift tents.
Fears that the conflict could spread across the wider region grew when new strikes hit Iran-backed Huthis in Yemen on Saturday, after the rebels warned of more attacks in solidarity with Gaza on what they deem Israeli-linked Red Sea shipping.
On the Israel-Lebanon border, which has seen regular exchanges of fire with Hamas ally Hezbollah, the Israeli army said it killed four gunmen who had crossed the frontier and “fired at the forces”.
Troops patrolling the Har Dov area – Israel’s term for the disputed Shebaa Farms district near the annexed Golan Heights – “engaged and responded with live fire”, a statement said, adding that “four terrorists were killed”.
The war began when Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on October 7, which resulted in about 1 140 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.
Hamas, considered a “terrorist” group by the US and the EU, also seized about 250 hostages, 132 of whom Israel says remain in Gaza, including at least 25 believed to have been killed.
Israel launched a relentless military campaign that has killed at least 23 968 people in the Palestinian territory, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.
After the International Court of Justice in The Hague heard arguments that accused Israel of breaching the UN Genocide Convention, Netanyahu insisted that Israel will “continue until victory”.
“No one will stop us – not The Hague, not the Axis of Evil and no one else,” he said, referring to the Iran-aligned “axis of resistance” groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
The Israeli military on Sunday said its forces had struck rocket launching pits in the territory’s north and hit targets across the Gaza Strip including the main southern city Khan Yunis.
Hamas’s military wing the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades reported “clashes with Zionist (Israeli) forces” in Khan Yunis. Further south, 80-year-old Palestinian Nimma al-Akhras said a strike had destroyed her house in Rafah.