Tel Aviv – Israeli troops are already operating in the “heart” of Gaza City, which is the base of the Palestinian radical movement Hamas, according to press agencies, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant said. According to the minister, Hamas leader Jahjá Sinvár is isolated in his bunker and has no contact with his surroundings. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also confirmed the advance of Israeli troops into the besieged city.
Galant said in a televised statement that Israeli army ground forces attacked terrorist strongholds in Gaza “from all directions, in perfect coordination with naval and air forces” and were “tightening the noose” around the city. According to the minister, the leader of Hamas Sinvár is hiding in his bunker, has no contact with his colleagues and will be eliminated, The Times of Israel reported.
Galant reiterated that Israel makes any humanitarian pause in the fighting in the Gaza Strip conditional on the release of all hostages taken by Hamas after the October 7 attack on Israel. According to him, despite pressure to declare a ceasefire, the army cannot let up in fighting until the complete defeat of Hamas and the return of all hostages.
In the Gaza Strip, which he described as “the largest terrorist base ever built”, neither Israel nor the Hamas movement will rule after the end of the current war, the defense minister added. However, he did not provide details on the future arrangement of the area. In this context, the spokesperson of the US State Department said today that the United States is against a possible new long-term occupation of the Gaza Strip by Israel.
Israel completely withdrew from the Gaza Strip, which it had occupied since 1967, based on the peace agreements in 2005, when it evacuated twenty Jewish settlements. In 2007, the Hamas movement took control of the area, having previously defeated the moderate Palestinian movement Fatah in parliamentary elections in 2006, whose chairman is the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.
According to the newspaper Haaretz today, Netanyahu declared in conversations with soldiers that the advance of the army in the Gaza Strip is a “phenomenal success” and reiterated that Israel will continue fighting until the very end.
In a televised speech, the prime minister then said that Gaza was surrounded and the Israeli army was operating inside the city as part of a ground operation against Hamas. He declared that until Hamas released the Israeli hostages, no ceasefire would be declared and fuel deliveries would not be allowed into the strip. At the same time, he repeated the call to Palestinian civilians to move south for their own safety. “We will not stop,” Netanyahu said.
In his speech, Minister Galant further stated that 70 fighters of this movement have already been killed in cross-border clashes between the Israeli army and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, adding that Israel has no interest in waging war with this armed Shiite Islamist group. The Israeli-Lebanese border has seen the most violent clashes since the war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006. Today, another 20 rockets were fired from Lebanon into northern Israel.
Israel launched a major military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip after the movement’s gunmen killed more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, in an attack on Saturday, October 7, in southern Israel. Another 240 or so people were taken to the Gaza Strip as hostages. At least 10,328 people died in retaliatory Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip, AFP reported today, citing the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health in Gaza.
Palestine Israel fighting PHOTO FLASH