Israel’s military has dropped 2,000 unspecified weapons and more than 1,000 tons of bombs on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip west of Israel since Saturday, the Israel Defense Forces said on Monday, as the violence enters its third day.
“In total, since the beginning of the war, Air Force aircraft have dropped about 2,000 weapons and more than 1,000 tons of bombs have been dropped on Gaza,” IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said at 8:30 a.m. local time.
Early on Saturday, Hamas militants launched a large-scale land, air and sea attack on Israel, marking the most serious escalation of hostilities in the region for years in what the group termed “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood.”
Israel then carried out waves of air strikes under its “Operation Iron Swords,” targeting Gaza.
“Hamas has started a brutal and evil war,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday. “We will be victorious in this war despite an unbearable price.”
At least 700 people have reportedly been killed in Israel and more than 400 in Gaza, with thousands more wounded, according to the Associated Press. Israel’s military has said it is still working to regain control of some settlements targeted by Hamas.
“There are two last pockets of fighting,” IDF international spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht told Britain’s Sky News on Monday. “We have more or less stabilized control in all communities around Gaza.”
Hamas representatives said on Monday morning that they had launched rocket attacks on a number of checkpoints and several Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv and the southern city of Sderot.
Israel had carried out four waves of air strikes on the Gaza strip in the previous 20 hours, Hagari said, with up to 60 fighter jets involved in each attack wave.
The first wave involved dropping “hundreds of tons of munitions” on the city of Beit Hanoun, on the north-eastern edge of the Gaza Strip close to the Erez checkpoint, the Israeli military said. The second attack, carried out several hours later, involved 100 tons of munitions being dropped throughout Gaza City, the spokesperson said.
A third wave of attacks took place around 1 a.m. on Monday morning, targeting 20 military structures, Hagari said, before a final wave of strikes zoned in on more than 500 targets across Gaza.
“In total, with the opening of the third day of the war, the Israeli Air Force destroyed approximately 1,200 targets in the Gaza Strip, along its length and breadth,” the Israeli military added. “At any given moment, there are dozens of aircraft over the Gaza Strip.”
A single Israeli F-15 tactical fighter jet can carry up to 10 tons of bombs in a single sortie, military expert David Hambling told Newsweek.
“But of course what really matters is where those bombs are landing and how good the intelligence is that’s guiding them,” he said.
“Tens of thousands” of IDF soldiers “continue to cleanse the area surrounding Gaza” of Hamas militants, Hagari said on Monday. The fighters are “going from door to door, searching the gardens and extensive searches,” he said.
Israel’s defense minister Yoav Gallant said on Monday that “no electricity, no food, no fuel” would reach Gaza after Israel ordered a “complete siege.”