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Day 59 - IDF preparing for capture of two Hamas strongholds in northern Gaza Strip – Jabalya and Shuja’iyya

Hamas terrorists are believed to have entrenched themselves in those areas during pause in fighting

IDF forces operate in Gaza, Dec. 4, 2023 (Photo: IDF)

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said on Sunday that Israel has “dismantled two Hamas brigades, yet not completely.” 

Halevi stated that the IDF has not yet achieved full control in the northern Gaza Strip, saying the 162nd Division "is still working internally to deepen the achievement and strike more battalions.” 

The 162nd Division is working to secure Jabalya, while the 36th Division is working to secure Shuja’iyya. Both neighborhoods, east of Gaza City, are considered major strongholds for Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip. 

Hundreds of Hamas terrorists are believed to have entrenched themselves in those areas during the pause in fighting. Additionally, many Palestinian civilians have not yet evacuated to seek refuge in the south. Their continued presence will complicate the IDF’s ability to operate freely in those neighborhoods. 

Halevi said the IDF operations in the southern Gaza Strip “will be no less powerful than” in the north. 

IDF ground troops are continuing to operate in the northern Gaza Strip in parallel to Israeli Air Force (IAF) strikes on approximately 200 Hamas terror targets in northern and southern Gaza. 

IDF troops struck terror infrastructure located inside a school in Beit Hanoun following an attack on the troops originating from the location. In the compound, soldiers found two tunnel shafts, including one that was booby-trapped, explosives, and additional weapons. 

IAF and IDF drones also aided the ground troops in the northern Gaza Strip. 

An IAF aircraft struck vehicles containing missiles, mortar shells, and weapons, preventing an imminent attack against IDF soldiers. Another aircraft struck military infrastructure intended to ambush the troops using anti-tank missiles. 

IDF forces operate in Gaza, Dec. 4, 2023 (Photo: IDF)

In his press briefing Sunday evening, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari emphasized the importance of the air support provided by the Air Force to the ground forces, saying their operations “reduce the threat of ground activity.” 

During operations, IDF troops directed an aircraft to strike a cell of terrorists. A weapons storage facility that terrorists were exiting from was also struck. 

The Israeli Navy is also assisting ground operations, striking several Hamas terror targets overnight. The targets included observation posts belonging to Hamas naval forces and terrorist infrastructure at the Gaza harbor. The forces also struck Hamas military compounds with precise munitions. 

Targets were struck in Shuja’iyya, Khan Younis, and the neighborhoods of Sheikh Radwan and al-Nasser. Arab media reported the destruction of buildings and dozens of terrorists killed in the strikes. 

Later on Sunday night, the IDF announced the killing of Shati Battalion commander Haitham Hawajri in an attack by fighter jets under intelligence guidance from the Shin Bet and Military Intelligence.

At the time of publication, Arab and Hebrew media were reporting ongoing IDF strikes in the northern Gaza Strip near Jabalya. 

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

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