Hamas fighters have begun to surrender in the north, Israel claimed, as it “intensified the fighting” in Khan Younis, a city in southern Gaza.
Israeli authorities did not specify how many militants had been captured in northern Gaza in the Shejaiya and Jabaliya neighbourhoods.
However, their statement came as a video surfaced in Israeli media showing dozens of captured men standing next to a military tank. All are stripped to their underwear with their arms raised.
The men are holding their guns and what appears to be their IDs above their heads. One member of the group is seen walking forward and surrendering his gun on the ground into a pile of weapons.
Israel has not commented on the latest video or to allegations the men were mistreated, but Eylon Levy, the government spokesman, said “increasing numbers” of Hamas fighters were surrendering, calling it a sign of “collapsing” morale.
The Telegraph could not independently verify that the men in the video were Hamas fighters and some reports claimed civilians were among the group.
The recording is similar to a video that circulated earlier last week which showed a large group of men stripped to their underwear, blindfolded and arranged to sit in rows on the street.
Meanwhile Israeli tanks reached the centre of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday as brutal clashes continued with Hamas fighters in the besieged territory.
Tanks were spotted by residents rolling down the main road that cuts north to south through the middle of the city after heavy shelling and intense combat overnight.
War planes zoomed overhead as bombing continued and Israel enforced a “fire belt” between Khan Younis and Rafah, a city on the border between Gaza and Egypt.
Israel’s bombardment of this area, roughly eight miles from the border with Egypt, has made it near-impossible for the evacuation of people approved by various government authorities controlling the border area.
Ambulances were blocked
Residents also said that ambulances were blocked to the northern and eastern parts of Khan Younis, where air strikes had hit several targets, and that the Jordanian field hospital in the city had been hit.
“It was one of the most dreadful nights; the resistance was very strong,” a father of four displaced from northern Gaza and sheltering in Khan Younis, told Reuters. “We could hear gunshots and explosions that didn’t stop for hours.”
On Sunday, the Israeli military said that nearly 1,600 soldiers had been wounded in the conflict with Hamas, with one-third of those sustaining injuries while fighting in Gaza.
About 300 helicopter evacuations have flown injured soldiers out of Gaza.
Reports suggested that around 5,000 Hamas fighters had been killed out of the 30,000-strong terrorist group’s armed wing.
Late on Saturday, the Israeli military officially confirmed that Sahar Baruch, 25, was killed during a failed hostage rescue mission. Mr Baruch’s kibbutz, Be’eri, and Hamas had earlier announced his death.