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Day 42: IDF seizes PIJ stronghold, eliminates senior Hamas political leader

In controversial move, Israel’s War Cabinet approves fuel entry to Gaza for water treatment plant

IDF operations in Gaza, Nov. 17, 2023 (Photo: IDF)

IDF troops continued operating overnight in Gaza City and Israeli Air Force fighter jets struck numerous terror targets in the Gaza Strip. 

Based on IDF and Shin Bet intelligence, IDF troops took control of a stronghold of the commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's northern command area. The post contained offices of senior terrorists and a strategic manufacturing site for weapons. During the raid, the troops located heavyweight rockets, UAVs, and additional weapons. The troops then destroyed the post. 

In addition, IDF troops conducted activity inside a school where Hamas terrorists were hiding. Troops killed the terrorists in the school and located a large number of weapons kept there.

Israeli troops conducted targeted raids in several areas in the Gaza Strip based on intelligence. During the raids, they located technological equipment, weapons caches, and additional weapons, including Kalashnikov rifles, improvised explosive devices, grenade launchers, vests, RPGs, and anti-tank missile launchers. 

The IDF has successfully reduced rocket fire from the northern Gaza Strip by 80% since the start of the ground invasion, according to a report in Walla! news. The decrease in rocket fire was due to the IDF's ability to destroy rocket launching sites found during maneuvers and by eliminating battalion commanders, company commanders, and department commanders of the Hamas units responsible for those launches. 

The IDF marked known rocket launch sites before the ground operation and has been destroying up to 100 launchers per day during the ground operation in northern Gaza.

Later on Friday morning, sources in Gaza reported that Hamas political bureau member Ahmed Bahar was killed in an Israeli airstrike. He was one of the most senior Hamas leaders killed in the war. Palestinian reports indicate that he was injured in the airstrike and later succumbed to his wounds. 

Reports in Hebrew media stated that Israel's war cabinet acceded to an American request to allow fuel into Gaza to power the water and sewage treatment plants in order to help stop the spread of disease. 

The IDF and Shin Bet reportedly agreed to the U.S. request.

Several coalition and opposition members were outraged by the decision, expressing their displeasure on social media. 

Transportation Minister Miri Regev wrote: “Fuel for UNRWA is fuel for Hamas.” 

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir wrote, “Diesel fuel = weapons.” 

Opposition member Avigdor Liberman also criticized the decision. 

"The despicable decision to approve the unilateral transfer of fuel into the Gaza Strip without any humanitarian gesture to our abductees and contrary to all declarations from the beginning of the war is simply delusional, and an example of the inability of the decision makers to meet the pressures and commitments,” Liberman said in a scathing attack. 

The IDF had tried previously to supply fuel directly to Shifa Hospital, however, Hamas would not let the hospital accept the transfer. 

IDF Chief-of-Staff Herzi Halevi in Gaza, Nov. 17, 2023 (Photo: IDF)

Hospital officials said on Friday that there is a "shortage of water and electricity in the main buildings of the compound."

According to officials, the lack of water, electricity, and food means that no surgical procedures can take place. They also said that food supplies are only sufficient for 40% of patient needs.

The IDF has made several deliveries of supplies over the past few days.

Once again, IDF troops provided safe passage with a tactical pause between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for civilians to flee to the southern Gaza Strip.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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