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IDF continues operations in Rafah, completes operations in Jabaliya

Fighting in Jabaliya perhaps the most intense in Gaza campaign

IDF thanks fighting in Gaza, May 31, 2024 (Photo: IDF).

Israel Defense Forces stated on Friday that it is conducting “intelligence-based” and “precise” operations in central Rafah. 

During activities in Rafah, IDF troops located weapons, including long-range rockets, RPGs, explosive devices, vests, ammunition and additional military equipment. 

Soldiers from the Givati and Commando Brigades located Hamas rocket launchers, terror tunnel shafts, and weapons. The troops also dismantled a Hamas weapons storage facility in the area. 

According to the IDF, a Hamas’ Nukhba force operative was eliminated in a drone strike. 

The IDF also announced the death of Sgt. Yehonatan Elias (20) with Givati Brigade’s reconnaissance unit, who was killed by an anti-tank missile. One other Givati Brigade officer was wounded in the attack. 

In the northern Gaza Strip, the combat teams of the 7th, 460th and Paratroopers Brigades under the 98th Division completed a three-week-long operation in eastern Jabaliya, where they fought above ground and underground simultaneously, in a dense urban area. 

The military said Hamas had turned the civilian area into a fortified combat zone after the IDF’s withdrawal from Jabaliya earlier this year. During operations, terrorists fired at the IDF troops from sheltered areas and schools and underground infrastructure built in civilian buildings. 

According to the IDF, around 120 anti-tank projectiles were fired at troops during the operation, along with dozens of incidents of sniper fire, explosive-equipped drones, and explosive booby traps. 

In operations above ground over the last month, the soldiers eliminated hundreds of Palestinian terrorists and destroyed dozens of terrorist infrastructure and compounds. In addition, the troops located hundreds of weapons, including firearms, explosives, grenades, ammunition and more. They destroyed several weapons production sites and rocket launching sites in the target operation.

Together with the Yahalom Unit, troops located, investigated and destroyed more than 10 kilometers (6 miles) of underground tunnels. The activity involved neutralizing explosives in the tunnels, discovering Hamas weapons and related intelligence, and eliminating a Hamas commander in the Beit Hanoun Battalion. along with other terrorists who were with him.  

During these operations, the soldiers of the 98th Division rescued the bodies of seven hostages – Shani Louk, Amit Buskila, Ron Benjamin, Yitzchak Gelernter, Hanan Yablonka, Michel Nisenbaum, and Orion Hernandez – and returned them for burial in Israel. 

Over the past month, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) conducted more than 200 aerial strikes, successfully targeting and eliminating dozens of Hamas terrorists at the command level and destroying terrorist infrastructure and weapon warehouses.

The IDF estimates that it has eliminated about 500 terrorists during the operation in Jabaliya, although only 350 can be verified. Ten Israeli soldiers were killed during the operation, including Elias.

Sgt. First Class (res.) Adar Gavriel, 24, of the Bislamach Brigade’s 6828th Battalion, was hit by a grenade thrown by a terrorist, who was later eliminated when soldiers returned fire. 

The soldier death toll for Israel’s ground campaign in Gaza currently stands at 294. 

Following the completion of their mission in eastern Jabaliya, the IDF's 98th Division troops will be preparing for additional operations in the Gaza Strip. 

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

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