At the end of last working week, in the first Battlefield Reports focusing on the war in Israel and Gaza, we reported on the first major turning point in the ground fighting in the form of the Israeli army’s halving of the Gaza Strip.
According to recent statements by Israeli officials, the situation has changed in recent days – fighting is already taking place in the “heart” of the besieged city of Gaza, and according to the Israeli army, they even managed to surround the bunker in which the head of Hamas, Yahya Sinvár, is said to be hiding.
Profile of the Hamas leader
However, these reports have not yet been confirmed and it is not even known where the shelter should be located.
From the confirmed reports, which roughly show how the advance of the Israeli forces looked like one to two days ago, it follows that since last week Israel has advanced in several directions and has also operated as far as the southwest of Gaza City.
Check out a comparison of the progress map from the US Institute for the Study of War (ISW) with last week’s map:
According to reports from several sources, there has been fighting in the immediate vicinity of the Shati camp in northwestern Gaza in recent days. ISW writes that the Israeli forces on Tuesday already verified https://twitter.com/ytirawi/status/1721881215320334347 advanced to its edge. Palestinian journalists also reported on the occupation of the building just outside the camp, and fighting in the area was also reported by sources connected to the Axis of Resistance (Palestinian, Lebanese, Syrian and other groups close to Tehran and opposing Israel).
The Israeli military also announced on Tuesday that it had continued “clearance operations” in Beit Hanoun in the northeastern Gaza Strip, from where it also published https://twitter.com/IDFSpokesperson/status/1721850966712918035?s=20.
ISW explains that “clearance operation” is an established term defined by military doctrine as a task aimed at eliminating all enemy forces and eliminating organized resistance in a given area. These kinds of operations typically take weeks to months, according to ISW. Control is only the next step, and when “cleaning” it is common for enemy attacks to occur behind one’s own line of advance.
According to ISW, this is exactly what is happening in Gaza in recent days. They appeared on Monday https://twitter.com/LoLManya/status/1721624923108438393?s=20 of fighting from the Atatra district, which is located on the very northwestern edge of Gaza City, i.e. about three kilometers behind the mentioned Šatí camp. The same according to the Palestinians https://twitter.com/ytirawi/status/1721639564291289509?s=20 it also played out on the other side of the front at the Sharm amusement park, where last week Israel completed its encirclement of the city as it reached the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
In recent days, however, evidence has emerged that Israel is not only blocking Gaza City from this southern direction, but is at least already entering its southwestern tip. Specifically, it is about https://twitter.com/TuiteroMartin/status/1721965257801744448?fbclid=IwAR27nilHmPOyBM2mVpdkKeRW9c0OxldxOx5gufyzZxsu5j6bHKZ2PXqNLN4 published by the Israeli military showing Israeli armored vehicles on the al-Rashid coastal road (exact location on map).
A map with marked locations of recent battles mentioned in the article:
From the video, the armored vehicles even appear to be moving from north to south. However, this cannot be taken as proof that the Israelis fought their way to the site from the server through the entire length of the city. Vehicles could easily come from the south and turn around. If the Israelis managed to drive along the coast through the entire city, there should be more news soon.
Large-scale Israeli airstrikes on various targets across Gaza are also taking place all the time. According to The Jerusalem Post, the number of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel decreased on Tuesday – it is not known whether as a result of Israeli air or ground strikes. The military does not provide exact statistics, but confirmed to the newspaper that the number of rockets fired by Hamas on Tuesday was significantly lower than recently.