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Israel enters the Hamas stronghold in northern Gaza and bombards Rafah without advancing

Israeli tanks entered the heart of Jabalia in northern Gaza on Thursday, where they were confronted by anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs from militants concentrated there, while their forces in the south shelled Rafah without advancing, Palestinian residents and militants said.

The slow progress of Israel’s offensive, more than seven months after it was prompted by Hamas’ deadly cross-border attack, underscored the difficulty in achieving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s goal of eradicating the militant group.

Armed wings of Hamas and its ally Islamic Jihad have been able to fight across the Gaza Strip, using heavily fortified tunnels to launch attacks in both the north – the focus of Israel’s initial invasion – and on new battlefields such as Rafah .

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