WASHINGTON - Israel has only eliminated 30 to 35 per cent of the Hamas terrorists who were part of the group prior to the October 7 attack, US intelligence believes.

In addition, 65 per cent of Hamas’ vast network of underground tunnels, which Hamas has used to carry out attacks, remain intact, Politico reported.

The outlet also said that US officials believe that Hamas has recruited thousands of new members in recent months.

Top officials from the Biden administration have expressed fears that Israel is scuppering its chance to defeat Hamas, publicly lambasting Israeli’s strategy in the Gaza Strip as “self-defeating” and “likely to open the door to Hamas’ return.”

Israel vowed to “crush and destroy Hamas” in response to the October 7 attacks, when about 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 were taken hostage.

However, it appears to have abandoned its plans for a full invasion of Rafah.

US officials said Israeli forces will focus on targeted incursions to eradicate Hamas from the area.

The US had for weeks warned Israel against going into Rafah, the last city in Gaza untouched by heavy fighting.

Earlier, Hamas said decisions by three European countries to recognise a Palestinian state were a “turning point”.

It thanked Ireland, Norway and Spain.

“These successive recognitions are the direct result of this brave resistance and the legendary steadfastness of the Palestinian people,” Bassem Naim, a senior figure in Hamas, said. “We believe this will be a turning point in the international position on the Palestinian issue.”

Israel’s foreign ministry, which withdrew its envoys from Ireland and Norway immediately after the announcement, warned that the recognition of a Palestinian state “will lead to more terrorism, instability in the region and jeopardise any prospects for peace”.

“Don’t be a pawn in the hands of Hamas,” it said.