Shocking footage released by the Israel Defence Forces shows a massive explosion ripping through buildings it says were a terrorist bomb factory run by Hamas-ally Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
While Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) are distinct they share the goal of destroying Israel and often work together, according to the US Director of National Intelligence website.
The IDF said they conducted the blast on Thursday after a 12-hour operation saying in a social media post the factory was a “major asset for weapon production” for PIJ.
Israel said its forces found two trucks full of weapons, UAVs, rocket parts and intelligence materials belonging to PIJ in the area.
PIJ was founded in 1979 and is the second-largest terrorist group in Gaza after Hamas.
The news comes as Israel expands its ground operation in the Gaza Strip seeking out Hamas terror tunnels and hostages taken in the October 7 attack.
IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said on Friday: “We have located underground infrastructure and information about the hostages.
“We are determined to move forward, destroy and kill terrorists, and dismantle the military infrastructure of Hamas.”
Israel has ordered Gaza civilians – many caught in the crossfire – to flee south, however, there are signs Tel Aviv is preparing to expand its operation to the south of the strip.
Earlier this week, the IDF dropped leaflets on parts of southern Gaza including the city of Khan Yunis urging civilians to evacuate and “head towards known shelters”.
The move has been seen as a sign that Israel could expand its ground operations to the southern part of the Gaza Strip. While Israel has carried out numerous airstrikes in the south, ground operations in the area have so far been limited.
The Hamas-run health minister claims more than 12,000 people have died in Gaza since the fighting began following an unprecedented terrorist attack on October 7.
Israel says that the attack claimed the lives of 1,200 of its citizens, the vast majority of them civilians. Terrorists also took around 240 hostages back to Gaza.