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Israeli army will hit Hamas in south Gaza as 'strongly' as in north, says IDF chief as southern ground op begins

Palestinian sources spotted IDF tanks on outskirts of Khan Younis as southern ground operation begins

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi speaks to soldiers in the Gaza Division in southern Israel, December 3, 2023. (Photo: Israel Defense Forces)

For the first time, an Israeli official confirmed on Sunday that the Israeli army has begun to operate in the southern Gaza Strip.

“We fought hard and thoroughly in the north of the Gaza Strip, and we will now do it in the south,” IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi said on Sunday evening.

The Israeli army began its ground incursion into the Gaza Strip on Oct. 27, after 20 days of intense aerial bombardment of Hamas targets following the terror group’s invasion and massacre in the Israeli border communities on Oct. 7.

Halevi’s comments came during a tour of the IDF’s Gaza Division and after a conversation with the reservists serving in the sector.

“We are looking at this truce, until which we almost dismantled two Hamas brigades in the north of the Gaza Strip. The IDF’s 162nd Division is still working inside [the Gaza Strip] to deepen the achievement and hit more battalions,” Halevi said.

“Yesterday and today, we killed battalion and brigade commanders, many operatives, and yesterday morning we started the same move in the south of the Gaza Strip, it will be no less powerful than this, it will have no less results than this, and the commanders in Hamas will meet the IDF everywhere in a very, very strong way.”

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi speaks to soldiers in the Gaza Division in southern Israel, December 3, 2023. (Photo: Israel Defense Forces)

“We have the capabilities to do it in the most thorough way, and just as we did it strongly and thoroughly in the north of the Gaza Strip, we are also doing it now in the south of the Gaza Strip and we also continue to deepen the achievement in the north of the Gaza Strip,” he added.

With the resumption of the fighting last Friday, the IDF carried out several airstrikes in the town of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

On Sunday, Palestinian sources for the first time reported that Israeli tanks and armored vehicles had entered the southern Gaza Strip and were spotted on the outskirts of the town.

The IDF has also distributed flyers warning residents of Khan Younis to move to safe locations in the southern Gaza Strip.

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

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