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Day 45: With no hostage deal, IDF continues to search for Hamas operatives and destroy terror infrastructure

Senior Hamas figure says hostage agreement is close, Israeli government says ‘not yet’

IDF operations in Gaza, Nov. 20, 2023 (Photo: IDF)

On the 45th day of the Iron Swords War, IDF troops continue to tighten their control of the northern Gaza Strip and destroy terror targets in the area. 

According to reports in Hebrew media this evening, engineering, infantry and armored forces of the 36th Division are fighting Hamas terrorists from the Zeitoun Battalion in Zeitoun, in the northern Gaza Strip today.

IDF operations in Gaza, Nov. 20, 2023 (Photo: IDF)

The Zeitoun Battalion is the main battalion of Hamas in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City. IDF forces report encountering the enemy in the heart of residential neighborhoods, hospitals, and schools, hiding and attacking from civilian infrastructure.

During operations today, fighters from the 188th Brigade and the 890th Battalion found a weapons cache in a mosque in Zeitoun.

The IDF announced on Monday that an airstrike, based on guidance from Israeli military intelligence and Shin Bet security, eliminated three Hamas company commanders.

The Nahal Brigade combat team identified a terrorist squad as they entered a nearby building and called in an airstrike on the squad. As a result, the terrorists were killed and the weapons depot where they were hiding was destroyed. 

Female soldiers of the 414th “Nesher” Battalion ("Eagle"), which suffered heavy losses on Oct. 7, identified and assisted in attacking dozens of Hamas defense and observation posts in the Gaza Strip. As part of the battalion's activity, the troops identified missile launching positions set up by Hamas, and struck and destroyed them.

The electronic observation posts near the Gaza border are manned by female soldiers in the 414th Battalion, however, due to low-security staffing at the outposts during the Simchat Torah holiday on the morning of Oct. 7, one of the main observation outposts was overrun by Hamas terrorists, and many soldiers were killed. 

The IDF also announced on Monday that it has apprehended and brought more than 300 terrorists from terror organizations in Gaza into Israel for questioning. 

“Each and every interrogation leads to the release of new locations and the human intelligence that emerges from the Gaza Strip,” according to the IDF statement.

“The information that emerges in the interrogations of the terrorists is very valuable, it leads to the elimination of operatives and the preservation of the security of our forces.”  

IDF operations in Gaza, Nov. 20, 2023 (Photo: IDF)

Senior Hamas figure, Musa Abu Marzouq, said Hamas and Israel are close to an agreement to release the hostages who were abducted and brought into Gaza on Oct. 7 during the brutal surprise attack.

Speaking to CBS, Abu Marzouq said that according to the emerging agreement, there would be a temporary ceasefire of five days, during which 50 abductees would be released from Hamas captivity in return for Israel releasing 100 Palestinian prisoners. 

Abu Marzouq claims Hamas operatives do not know where all the abductees are located.

However, an Egyptian source told the Wall Street Journal that no Hamas prisoners would be released from Israeli prisons during the exchange. 

According to the report, Israel will only release women and minors imprisoned in Israeli jails who are not affiliated with the terrorist organization. 

The Israeli government denied that a deal has been worked out yet. 

The spokesman for the Rafah Border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip announced that 40 trucks crossed into the Gaza Strip today, carrying supplies for the Jordanian field hospital.

Reports in Jordanian media said Jordan will build a field hospital in the city of Khan Yunis, however, Israel has been issuing evacuation notices throughout that area, so it is not clear if the field hospital will be constructed there. 

On Monday, the IDF also confirmed its cooperation to ensure the safety of the medical teams that evacuated 31 premature babies from the Shifa Hospital on Sunday. 

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

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