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IDF says 160 aircraft dropped 450 missiles on Gaza tunnel network

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Some 160 aircraft flying simultaneously conducted a massive attack on a network of tunnels dug by the Hamas terror group under Gaza City around midnight in the largest Israeli strike since the outbreak of fighting earlier this week, the military says.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, in this air campaign, which lasted nearly 40 minutes, some 450 missiles were dropped on 150 targets in northern Gaza. The military says it is still working to determine the extent of the damage caused to the underground infrastructure, which IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman says was a “strategic asset” to Hamas.

In addition to the aerial strike, Israeli tanks, artillery cannons and infantrymen on the Gaza border conducted accompanying barrages at Hamas targets that came out during the assault to attack Israeli targets, Zilberman says, clarifying that the ground troops remain on Israel’s side of the border and did not enter the Gaza Strip, despite earlier claims to the contrary by the IDF.

In total, some 500 artillery shells — some flares and explosives — along with 50 tank shells, were fired during this subsequent bombardment. Palestinians in Gaza report that the Israeli strike lasted over an hour and caused a number of casualties, though an exact tally is not immediately available.

Zilberman says the operation is the result of large amounts of intelligence and careful planning.

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