Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry has claimed three people were killed when a car was blasted by an Israeli tank along the enclave’s main highway.
The incident – which was caught on video – came as Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) pushed into Gaza City in the ‘second stage’ of its war on Hamas.
Footage shows a car approaching an earth barrier built across the Salahedin highway, where a tank is parked behind a small building.
The car stops and begins to turn around in the middle of the road. As it heads away, a flash of fire is seen as the tank opens fire, and an explosion engulfs the car.
A journalist who was filming the scene from inside another car further back down the road races away in terror, screaming, ‘Go back! Go back!’ at an approaching ambulance and other vehicles on the main highway.
Gaza’s Haman-run health ministry has claimed three people were killed when a car was blasted by an Israeli tank along the enclave’s main highway. Pictured: A car is seen driving down the highway, towards where an Israeli tank is partially hidden near a building
The car stops and begins to turn around in the middle of the road. As it heads away, the tank appears to open fire, and an explosion engulfs the car, the AP reported
The Gaza Health Ministry later said three people were killed in the struck car.
The claim from the Hamas-run health authority comes almost two weeks after an attack on the Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza, the cause of which remains contested.
Hamas initially accused the IDF of carrying out the attack, but evidence has since come to light to suggest it was likely caused by a failed rocket launch from within Gaza by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
MailOnline was not immediately able to establish who the people in the car were in the more recent incident on the Gaza highway, called Salahedin road.
The road is Gaza’s main artery that runs almost the full length of the enclave.
According to a translation of the video provided by the Associated Press, one of the journalists in the car that fled the scene suggested it was a family in the car.
‘Do you see it? Film, film’ one of the journalists in the car bringing up the rear is heard telling his colleague when they first spot the tank at the end of the road.
‘There it is, there it is, moved, [the tank] moved,’ one says.
‘He is gone! (the car is blasted by the tank) gone.’
‘They hit him? Yes, there is no power nor strength except with God. They hit him? Yes, there is no power or strength except with God, the man was killed.’
‘There is no power nor strength except with God. All the family. Oh God, all [the] family (killed). Get back, get back! (he says, shouting to alert vehicles ahead not to go to the area where the Israeli tank was seen) There’s a tank, there’s a tank!’
‘Go, go, Yusuf,’ the passenger shouts at the driver, then, shouting to other vehicles on the road, the driver yells: ‘Go back, go back, go back, back!’
‘Yusuf, drive!’ the passenger says again. There is then the sound of another explosion. ‘It hit it, Yusuf, go, the bus is gone, back!’
It was not immediately clear what was meant by ‘the bus’. Only one vehicle was seen to be destroyed by the tank, but others were seen driving up the road.
If confirmed, the incident is the first Israeli attack on the ground inside Gaza that has been captured on video since the war against Hamas entered its second stage.
Witnesses said on Monday that Israeli tanks had advanced to the fringes of Gaza City, which before the conflict was home to 1.1 million people.
‘Some Israeli tanks and a bulldozer moved into eastern Gaza and reached Netzarim junction and Salah al-Din street in Gaza City,’ one told Turkey’s Anadolu Ajansı.
It is believe the incident with the Israeli tank happened near Netzarim junction.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians remain in the north and would no longer be able to escape if the north-south highway is blocked.
Around 117,000 internally displaced people are staying in hospitals in northern Gaza, alongside thousands of patients and staff, according to UN figures.
Most residents heeded Israel’s orders to flee to the southern part of the besieged territory, but many stayed in part because Israel has also bombarded targets in so-called safe zones since launching its bombardment on October 7.
A journalist who was filming the scene from another car further down the road races away in terror, screaming, ‘Go back! Go back!’ at an approaching ambulance and other vehicles on the highway
Witnesses have said ‘dozens’ of tanks have entered Gaza’s Zaytun district on the southern fringes of Gaza City, cutting a key road from the north to the south.
‘They have cut the Salahedin road and are firing at any vehicle that tries to go along it,’ said one resident who said they were present on two sections of the road.
Located on Gaza City’s southern edge, Zaytun – which normally has a population of over 130,000 – is the city’s largest district, but the area where the tanks were spotted is relatively sparsely populated.
Dozens of buildings west of the Salahedin road have already been demolished by Israeli strikes in recent days.
The incident came as Israeli advances put their forces on both sides of Gaza City and the surrounding areas of northern Gaza, in what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a ‘second stage’ in the war ignited by Hamas’ brutal Oct. 7 incursion.
Casualties on both sides are expected to rise sharply as Israeli forces and Palestinian militants battle in dense residential areas.
The death toll among Palestinians passed 8,000, mostly women and minors, the Gaza Health Ministry said. The toll is without precedent in decades of Israeli-Palestinian violence. More than 1.4 million people in Gaza have fled their homes.
Over 1,400 people have died on the Israeli side, mainly civilians killed during Hamas’ initial attack, also an unprecedented figure.
Israeli forces appeared to be driving deeper into Gaza from the north. Video released Monday by the military showed armored vehicles moving among buildings and soldiers taking positions inside a house.
The military said Monday that overnight its troops had killed dozens of militants who attacked from inside buildings and tunnels, and that strikes had destroyed a building Hamas was using as a staging post.
A picture taken from Israel’s southern city of Sderot shows Israeli tanks and bulldozers positioned in the north of the Gaza Strip, on October 30
Palestinians leave their homes following Israeli bombardment on Gaza City, October 30
It said that in the last few days, it had struck more than 600 militant targets, including weapons depots and anti-tank missile launching positions.
The reports of targeting could not be independently confirmed.
Hamas’ military wing said its militants clashed with Israeli troops who entered the northwest Gaza Strip with small arms and anti-tank missiles.
Palestinian militants have continued firing rockets into Israel, including toward its commercial hub, Tel Aviv.