After several days of aerial pounding, the IDF entered the heart of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on Monday night. The army defines the past 24 hours as the most intense fighting since the ground maneuver began, with many incidents – both in the southern Gaza Strip and in the northern Gaza Strip, where the IDF is now focusing mainly on the heart of the Jabaliya refugee camp and the Sajaiya neighborhood.
IDF fighters operate in Hamas terrorist strongholds and wage fierce battles against terrorists, Photo: IDF Spokesperson
The army reports hundreds of airstrikes, as well as dozens of terrorists killed and severe damage to enemy infrastructure.
In the core of Jabaliya, Shejaiya and Khan Yunis
In recent days, the IDF has maintained ambiguity regarding its modus operandi in the southern Gaza Strip. With the intention of entering Khan Yunis as part of the expansion of the operation, the IDF launched an attack in the Gaza Strip, and the army stresses that the operation will take more time.
The IDF defines Khan Yunis as a significant center of gravity for Hamas, and although the forces have already reached the core of the area, the army notes that there is still a lot of work to be done, and it will take time to cleanse the area. The army also says that the fighting there against the four Hamas battalions will look different from the fighting in the northern Gaza Strip, partly because of the different terrain.
As is well known, the assessment in the defense establishment is that Khan Yunis is home to the senior Hamas leadership, including Yahya Sinwar and Mohammed Deif. Israel also believes that some of the Israeli abductees still alive are also in the southern Gaza Strip, in this area.
, the two-divisional offensive in the area continues during these hours. Photo: IDF Spokesperson
On the eve of the operation in Khan Yunis, the IDF appealed to the residents of the area to evacuate the area, in the direction of the Muasi by the sea and towards southern Rafah. The military reports that residents are moving toward safer areas, in accordance with leaflets dropped throughout the Gaza Strip.
It is estimated that since the beginning of the IDF's ground maneuver in the Gaza Strip, some 6,000 Hamas terrorists have been killed, and possibly even more. The Palestinians report about 15,000 fatalities throughout the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians also report more than 42,<> wounded since the beginning of the fighting.
The army places great emphasis on eliminating Hamas commanders, and only in the past 72 hours have two battalion commanders of the terrorist organization been eliminated – Battalion Commander Sajaiya and Battalion Commander Shati.
The fighters are in the core of Jabaliya, in the core of Shejaiya and now also in the core of Khan Yunis, Photo: IDF Spokesperson
The army emphasizes that during the maneuver, actions are being carried out to return the prisoners and missing persons, and are convinced that without maneuvering and military pressure, the previous outline would not have been fulfilled. However, no answer was given as to why Hamas decided not to abide by the continuation of the plan for the release of women and children if it was so uninterested in continuing the maneuver.
The military also notes that the continuation of humanitarian aid to Gaza does not dramatically impair the maneuver efforts, and the required operational achievement is to bring as many dead terrorists as possible.
The army still doesn't talk about the day after, but the idea is to continue raiding into the Gaza Strip and create a security zone that will keep the terrorists away from the Israeli border.
The commander of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman, said: "We are in the core of Jabaliya, in the core of Shejaiya, and starting tonight also in the core of Khan Yunis. We are in the most intense day since the beginning of the maneuver - in terms of dead terrorists, the number of encounters and the use of fire from the ground and the air. We intend to continue attacking and deepening the achievement. The two-divisional offensive in the area continues during these hours as well."
"The fighters launched an offensive with the aim of eliminating the terrorists in the area, locating and destroying rocket and anti-tank launchers, and damaging the underground infrastructure. This is in order to significantly damage the enemy's capabilities and enable the continued advance of the rest of the IDF forces in the Gaza Strip."
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