Israeli Troops Roll Into Gaza City As Ground Offensive Intensifies

Israeli Troops Roll Into Gaza City As Ground Offensive Intensifies

Nov. 3, 2023, 8 a.m.

IDF chief says fuel could enter Gaza if hospitals run out; rockets continue to target southern, central Israel; PM: Military campaign has seen ‘very impressive successes’

Backed by punishing air power as well as naval backup, Israeli soldiers and armored columns pushed into Gaza City on Thursday, the military’s chief of staff said, calling the advance “another significant stage in the war,” and indicating Israel may soon allow long-sought fuel transfers to hospitals in the Strip.

Conquering the city, Gaza’s largest and a stronghold of the Strip’s Hamas rulers, will be a daunting task for Israel’s military, whose aspirations of ousting the terror group will force soldiers to fight through the crowded urban labyrinth thought awash with bombs and booby traps and undercut by a vast network of tunnels used by terrorists to ambush or surprise troops.

In a statement from an Air Force base, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said troops have surrounded the city in the northern part of the strip from several directions.

“We have advanced another significant stage in the war. The forces are in the heart of northern Gaza, operating in Gaza City, surrounding it, and deepening [the ground offensive] and its achievements,” he said. The IDF said that around 130 Hamas terrorists were killed in gun battles with IDF soldiers Thursday afternoon and early evening.

Twenty-seven days after Hamas terrorists carried out a massive deadly rampage through southern Israel, plunging the region into war, Palestinian terror groups continued to fire rockets at Israel, with several barrages aimed at the center of the country, setting sirens off in Rishon Lezion, Lod, Ramle and Rosh Ha’ayin, as well as toward the southern city of Beersheba. One rocket launched from Gaza hit a home in central Israel, causing heavy damage, but no injuries. Occupants had been sheltering in a safe room.

The death toll among IDF troops grew to 19 confirmed deaths since the start of the ground operation six days earlier, including a senior officer. Several others were wounded in the fighting, some seriously.

Backed by punishing air power as well as naval backup, Israeli soldiers and armored columns pushed into Gaza City on Thursday, the military’s chief of staff said, calling the advance “another significant stage in the war,” and indicating Israel may soon allow long-sought fuel transfers to hospitals in the Strip.

Conquering the city, Gaza’s largest and a stronghold of the Strip’s Hamas rulers, will be a daunting task for Israel’s military, whose aspirations of ousting the terror group will force soldiers to fight through the crowded urban labyrinth thought awash with bombs and booby traps and undercut by a vast network of tunnels used by terrorists to ambush or surprise troops.

In a statement from an Air Force base, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said troops have surrounded the city in the northern part of the strip from several directions.

“We have advanced another significant stage in the war. The forces are in the heart of northern Gaza, operating in Gaza City, surrounding it, and deepening [the ground offensive] and its achievements,” he said. The IDF said that around 130 Hamas terrorists were killed in gun battles with IDF soldiers Thursday afternoon and early evening.

Twenty-seven days after Hamas terrorists carried out a massive deadly rampage through southern Israel, plunging the region into war, Palestinian terror groups continued to fire rockets at Israel, with several barrages aimed at the center of the country, setting sirens off in Rishon Lezion, Lod, Ramle and Rosh Ha’ayin, as well as toward the southern city of Beersheba. One rocket launched from Gaza hit a home in central Israel, causing heavy damage, but no injuries. Occupants had been sheltering in a safe room.

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Thursday evening that ground forces have “completely encircled Gaza City, the center of Hamas activity” in the Strip. Asked about a potential ceasefire, Hagari said “the term ‘ceasefire’ is not at all on the table at the moment.”

Brigadier General Iddo Mizrahi, chief of Israel’s military engineers, was quoted by Reuters on Thursday saying that “Hamas has learned and prepared itself well” for Israel’s ground invasion, noting that troops are continuously encountering mines, booby traps and ambushes.

Visiting an army base in the center of Israel on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the IDF campaign is “in full swing. We have very impressive successes, and we are already beyond the outskirts of Gaza City. We are still advancing.”

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