GAZA/JERUSALEM, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Israel said its forces fought Hamas gunmen inside the militants’ vast tunnel network beneath the besieged Palestinian enclave of Gaza, seeking to free hostages and to push forward its campaign to wipe out the militant group.

As the battle inside Gaza intensified, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed calls for a halt to the fighting.

But international aid officials warned that a public health catastrophe was engulfing civilians in Gaza, with hospitals struggling to cope with the casualties and food, medicine, drinking water and fuel running short.

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