As Operation Iron Swords crosses over into the 3-month mark, the IDF has recently begun operating in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis.
Khan Younis is the place where several Hamas leaders grew up, and where many keep a residence and it is home to one of Hamas’ two largest brigades.
The IDF also believes that many of the Israeli captives and Hamas leaders are in the tunnel network under the city. That is why the IDF chose to enter Khan Younis very soon after the temporary ceasefire was broken by Hamas.
Over the past few days, the Israeli Air Force, in cooperation with commandos from the 98th Division, has been striking significant Hamas sites in the city.
On Friday morning, the IDF announced that the IAF and special operations strikes in Khan Younis d killed dozens of terrorists in the area during a two-hour period.
Over the past 24 hours:— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) December 8, 2023
🔺450+ targets were struck by IDF ground, aerial and naval forces in Gaza.
🔺IAF aircraft neutralized numerous terrorists in a series of precise strikes.
🔺3 terrorists were struck by a UAV. 2 were eliminated and the third one revealed the location…
At one point, three terrorists preparing to attack IDF troops were identified by drone operators, who struck them, killing two. The third terrorist revealed the location of another group of terrorists in a nearby military building, which was preparing to launch rockets at Israeli forces. They were eliminated in an airstrike.
On Thursday, the IDF revealed it had eliminated a group of terrorists emerging from a tunnel shaft in the Khan Younis area. Many tunnel shafts exit into civilian homes and infrastructure, which has led Israel to strike civilian buildings.
Israeli leaders believe that if they can overwhelm the Hamas fighters in Khan Younis while securing control of the northern Gaza Strip, it can lead to a breaking point, with many Hamas terrorists surrendering and the killing or arrest of leaders like the brothers Yahya and Muhammad Sinwar and Mohammed Deif.
Even if the leaders are not killed or captured, a quick route of Hamas forces in Khan Younis could return Hamas to negotiations for the release of additional captives. At least 138 captives are still believed to be alive inside Gaza, held by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad members, with some being held by private citizens.
Israel believes that Hamas and PIJ leaders intend to use the captives as a kind of insurance policy to protect senior leaders like the Sinwar brothers and Deif.
The IDF also hopes to transition from offensive ground maneuvers to a “search and destroy” stage, as it is doing in many areas of the northern Gaza Strip, locating and destroying tunnels, rocket launchers and weapons depots and manufacturing facilities.
As in previous campaigns, Israel made a show of moving ground forces and tanks into the outskirts of Khan Younis to convince Hamas leaders that it was invading on a large scale. This has apparently caused Hamas to reinforce certain positions ahead of the invasion. The IAF then targeted those positions before the 98th Division moved into the northern part of Khan Younis, not the eastern part where the IDF had amassed troops.
In the meantime, IDF troops continue to secure the northern Gaza neighborhoods of Jabaliya and Shaja'iya.
Imagine if Hamas used the same effort to protect their civilians as they do to embed their terrorism.— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) December 8, 2023
At the heart of civilian areas in Shuja'iyya—IDF forces located and neutralized:
* Hamas infrastructure
* several terrorist tunnels
* dozens of terrorists pic.twitter.com/P6225aiuAE
There has been sporadic fighting in those areas as Israeli forces work to clear out Hamas terror cells and locate and destroy terror infrastructure.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.