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Day 88 – IDF releases reserve soldiers as ground op in Gaza shifts to more localized raids

IDF secures one of the last holdouts in northern Strip

IDF forces operating in Gaza (Photo: IDF)

Israel Defense Forces appears to have begun its transition to a less intensive phase in the war against the Hamas terrorist group in the Gaza Strip, as the IDF announced the release of two fighting reserve brigades.

At the same time, i24 news reported that the intensity of airstrikes and tank fire in the southern Gaza Strip has increased, pointing to more localized operations but with the heavy use of support fire.

During his daily briefing, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari explained that the army plans to build the reserve system in such a way that soldiers can be refreshed and see their loved ones, and the Israeli economy can go back to functioning normally, while still having enough troops available to continue fighting the war to eliminate Hamas.

“We will build it in an orderly manner because the fighting is still long and there are many, many challenges… This is the right thing to do because we have challenges in combat, and we will also need the reserve forces,” Hagari said.

Two IDF battlegroups, the 14th and 551st Reserve Brigades, were phased out of the fighting last week.

As the operational hold in northern Gaza continues to deepen with search-and-destroy operations, active battles concentrated mainly on the city of Khan Younis. Hagari said during the fighting, Israeli soldiers identified suspects hiding among women and children.

“We took them in for questioning, where it turned out that they were terrorists, some of whom participated in the terrorist attack on October 7th,” he added.

In another incident, the Paratrooper Brigade attacked terrorist infrastructures that were endangering Israeli troops and raided operational apartments where munitions were stored and from where terrorist operations were directed.

During mop-up operations in northern Gaza, soldiers of the 460th Brigade raided the home of a Hamas commander in the Daraj Tuffah, one of the last remaining areas to be secured in the north. The battlegroup killed dozens of terrorists, located and destroyed tunnel shafts, and found weapons, as well as intelligence linking the neighborhood mosque to the murderous assault on Oct. 7.

“Today the 460th Brigade completed its mission in the Daraj Tuffah sector,” the commander, Col. Dvir Edri told his soldiers.

In its two months of fighting, the battlegroup has eliminated hundreds of terrorists and destroyed numerous terrorist infrastructures.

South of Gaza City, forces from the 179th Brigade identified three terrorists entering a building and directed an airstrike to hit it. An Israeli Air Force fighter jet bombed the building, causing secondary explosions which indicates that many weapons were stored in the compound.

In central Gaza, between Gaza City and Khan Younis, a laboratory used for the production of weapons, launch pits, and launchers of long-range rockets were located during searches by the IDF's 646th Brigade.

More rocket launchers were discovered in nearby al-Bureij, where the Golani Brigade battlegroup found the launchers hidden near a UNRWA school.

The IDF also praised the cooperation between the ground forces, the Air Force and the Navy, which eliminated several terrorists who were identified by ground forces as they placed explosive charges near a beach.

As a result of the recent fighting in the Gaza Strip, another IDF soldier fell in battle, raising the death toll from the ground operations to 173.

The soldier was identified as Sgt. First Class (res.) Amichai Yisrael Yehoshua Oster (24), of the 5th Brigade’s 7020th Battalion, a resident of Karnei Shomron in Samaria.

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

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