For the first time in decades, Israel Defense Forces (Cahal) soldiers are in the heart of Gaza City, said the head of the Israeli army’s Southern Command, General Jaron Finkelman, on Tuesday.
“We are currently also fighting in the most important centers of the Gaza Strip. For the first time in recent decades, Cahal troops are in the heart of Gaza City, in the heart of terrorism. We constantly have before our eyes those kidnapped and held by (terrorist organization) Hamas. Your return is our compass.” – added General Finkelman in a statement quoted by i24news.tv.
On Sunday, it was reported that the Israeli army had reached the coast and cut off the northern part of the Gaza Strip, along with its capital, from the rest of the territory, and entering the city center was a matter of several dozen hours. On the night from Monday to Tuesday, the Defense Forces Israel continued ground operations in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli military said its planes struck the hideout of about 10 Hamas members and attacked an anti-tank unit operating nearby.
On Tuesday, the inews24.tv portal reported that the Hamas command center had been taken over and a weapons warehouse destroyed. On the same day, in the afternoon, the website quoted the statement of the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahuwho announced that Israel would “take over permanent security responsibility” in the Gaza Strip after the end of the war.
Most Hamas members, including the group’s leaders, are believed to be in deep tunnels under the Gaza Strip, including Gaza City.
Sinwar “is hiding in his bunker and has no contact with his colleagues”
Israeli Defense Minister Joaw Gallant, in a televised address on Tuesday, described the Gaza Strip as “the largest terrorist base ever built by mankind” and rejected any humanitarian pause before Palestinian terrorists released more than 240 hostages. “We will work until victory and the return of the hostages home,” Gallant said, adding that Israel Defense Forces (Cahal) ground troops are deployed “in the heart” of the Gaza Strip. They are storming terrorist strongholds “from all directions, in perfect coordination with naval and air forces”, “tightening the blockade” around Gaza City.
The minister also said that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar “is hiding in his bunker and has no contact with his associates.” He promised again that he would eliminate him.
– Today we saw thousands of residents of the Gaza Strip heading south (through the so-called humanitarian corridor – editor) – said Gallant and called on all Gazans to move to safer areas in the south “so that they do not suffer.” – We will destroy Hamas, we are not interested in harming civilians – he emphasized.
Referring to growing international demands for humanitarian pauses, Gallant said: “For me, humanitarian pauses mean, first and foremost, the return of hostages held by savages.” There will be no humanitarian breaks without their return.
Asked whether Cahal intended to attack Hamas targets at Shifa Hospital, he replied that he did not warn about the actions of the Israeli military and could not talk about the effects of actions that were yet to come.
Main photo source: MOHAMMED SABER/EPA/PAP