Both the Prime Minister of Israel and the Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yoav Gallanthave said on various occasions that the war “will be long,” and a report by Financial Times reports that the Israeli campaign against Hamas could drag on for a year or more. “This will be a very long war (…) We haven’t even come close to achieving half of our goals,” the business newspaper quoted a person familiar with the war plans as saying.
The multi-phase strategy envisages that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) stationed in the northern Gaza Strip will advance immediately towards the south of the Gaza Strip. Israel’s stated goals include killing three top Hamas leaders, Yahya Sinwar, Mohamed Deif And Marwan Issa, securing a “decisive” military victory against the terrorist group’s 24 battalions and tunnel network and destroying its “ability to govern Gaza.” In a morning statement, the IDF said it had carried out airstrikes against more than 400 targets across the Gaza Strip in the last day since Hamas violated the ceasefire and fighting resumed. The operations involved ground, air and naval forces, as well as Israeli fighters, who attacked more than 50 targets in the Khan Younis area.
The navy also carried out attacks on Hamas’ infrastructure in the south, including equipment used by the terror group’s naval forces. Ground forces in the northern Gaza Strip operated primarily in Gaza City and Beit Lahiya.
Israeli authorities believe that most of Hamas’s leadership, most of its fighters and rocket arsenal, and most of the remaining Israeli hostages captured on October 7 are now in the south of the enclave.
Hamas said yesterday that 240 people had been killed since fighting resumed on Friday. According to them, more than 15,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the Israeli military action. These figures have not been independently verified and are believed to include, in addition to civilian casualties from Israeli bombs, Palestinian civilians killed by rockets mistakenly fired by terrorist groups, as well as members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad killed by Israel.
A senior Israeli military official said at least 10 of Hamas’s 24 battalions were “severely damaged,” killing more than 50 mid-level commanders and about 5,000 fighters Financial Times. Fighting resumed after Hamas violated the temporary ceasefire by failing to submit by 7 a.m. the list of hostages it would release that day, as stipulated in the agreement in place since last week , and also before officials fired rockets against Israeli communities ending the ceasefire.
On Saturday morning, residents of Khan Younis reported that the IDF dropped leaflets calling on residents to move south to Rafah “because the area is dangerous.” An indication that ground operations will begin soon.
The United States has warned Israel that this offensive may not be as deadly to Gazans as the previous one. During a visit to Tel Aviv on Thursday Anthony BlinkenSecretary of State of the United States, noted that otherwise he would not receive the Biden administration’s support indefinitely without better protection of civilians.
The Israeli military began using a map that divides the Strip into hundreds of small zones to inform Palestinian civilians of active combat areas where ground forces are expected to operate as the IDF expands its offensive. The Arabic-speaking spokesman for the IDF, Lt. Col. Avichay Adraeesaid in
He also called on Palestinians in several areas of Khirbat Ikhza’a, Abasan, Bani Suheila and Ma’an in the southern Gaza Strip near the Israeli border to go to emergency shelters in Rafah. In this regard, the IDF has asked Palestinians to pay attention to their area number and stay tuned for updates.
The families of hostages held in Gaza, including several of those released in recent days, are demanding a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu. A statement from the Hostage Families Forum said: “The end of the ceasefire and the return of fighting require immediate notification to the families of the hostages,” the forum said. “The returned hostages are demanding a meeting this afternoon (yesterday) with the Prime Minister and members of the War Cabinet.” There are still 136 hostages, most of them Israelis.