Over the past couple of days, fighters of the IDF's 188th Brigade's combat team, together with fighters from Shayetet 13, Israel’s equivalent to the Navy SEALs, achieved operational control of Gaza's central harbor, which includes a Hamas naval base.
During the operations, about 10 tunnel shafts and four buildings used by the terrorists were destroyed by engineering teams. An IDF bulldozer also toppled the monument to the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla from Turkey. Ten Hamas terrorists were killed in the operation to take control of the harbor.
In 2010, during the boarding of the Mavi Marmara ship, activists beat IDF Shayetet 13 operators who were about to search for contraband items.
Some of the same Shayetet 13 troops who took part in the takeover of the Gaza harbor on Thursday had also participated in the Mavi Marmara raid.
Hamas used the harbor as a training facility for the naval forces, using civilian boats and Gaza naval police boats for terrorist purposes.
Following the announcement of weapons discovered inside Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the IDF announced that IDF soldiers would continue to operate in the area of the hospital.
Israeli forces were instructed to go through every hospital building and scan all floors, despite the presence of hundreds of patients and medical personnel. According to the IDF, "the activity is being conducted judiciously, patiently and thoroughly, while assessing the situation on the ground and conducting an investigation at the site."
So far, no medical staff member or IDF soldier has been injured in the operation.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Foreign Media Spokesman Mark Regev told CNN that “Israel will present additional evidence to prove that Hamas operates a headquarters under Shifa Hospital.”
The tunnels under the Gaza Strip continue to represent a significant tactical challenge for the IDF in securing the area.
Inside the tunnels are command and control offices, weapons depots and workshops for the manufacture of weapons. They also serve as smuggling routes, hiding places and as a passage for terrorist operatives.
IDF engineers continue to find and destroy tunnels in territories under the control of the IDF to prevent the terror group from using them.
The Israeli Air Force destroyed the house of Ismail Haniyeh, head of the political bureau of Hamas, which also served as a planning and operations center.
This morning, the IDF released pictures of the weapons and military equipment seized in the Shati refugee camp. The weapons were destroyed.
The IDF announced another tactical pause between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to allow civilians to flee the northern Gaza Strip toward the south, along the Salah al-Din road.
In a briefing on Thursday afternoon, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced that the IDF has secured the western half of Gaza City.
“Over the last 24 hours, we have gained [operational] control of the western area of Gaza City; the next phase has begun - the forces are acting precisely and decisively.”
The IDF also stated it had “clear information indicating a connection between Hamas activity in the [Shifa] hospital and the issue of the captives.”
However, it also said the information from the laptops seized in the hospital has not yet been analyzed.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.