#World News

Six months on, how close is Israel to eliminating Hamas?

By Merlyn Thomas & Jake Horton

It has been nearly six months since Hamas fighters broke through from Gaza into Israel on 7 October, killing about 1,200 people and taking hundreds hostage.

In response, Israel vowed to “crush and destroy Hamas” so that it no longer posed any threat, and to bring all the hostages home.

In the brutal war that has followed, at least 33,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, and large parts of Gaza have been destroyed.

Israel says it has killed thousands of Hamas fighters and destroyed much of the vast network of tunnels beneath Gaza, which Hamas has used to carry out attacks.

BBC Verify has combed through public statements and social media posts by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and assessed the evidence behind Israel’s stated aims.

Before 7 October, Hamas was thought to have about 30,000 fighters in Gaza, according to reports quoting IDF commanders.

Many of Hamas’s senior political figures such as Ismail Haniyeh, widely considered to be the group’s overall leader, live abroad. But many of its military leadership structure are thought to be inside Gaza.

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