Hamas Has Lost Control In Gaza: Israeli Defense Minister

Hamas Has Lost Control In Gaza: Israeli Defense Minister

Nov. 14, 2023, 8:55 a.m.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Monday that Hamas had lost control in the Gaza Strip, as the Israel Defense Forces moved to fully capture Gaza City.

“There is no force of Hamas capable of stopping the IDF. The IDF is advancing at every location. The Hamas organization has lost control in Gaza: Terrorists are fleeing south, civilians are looting Hamas bases. They have no confidence in the government,” Gallant said, after holding an assessment on the fighting.

On Monday evening the army said forces raided Gaza City’s Rantisi Hospital, which treats children, and that Hamas operatives had been holed up there. It said it had evidence indicating hostages were held there.

“Underneath the hospital, in the basement, we found a Hamas command and control center, suicide-bomb vests, grenades, AK-47 assault rifles, explosive devices, RPGs, and other weapons, computers, money, etc,” Spokesman Daniel Hagari said, in an English-language press conference.

The military also said it had killed a group of gunmen who had fired on troops from another Gaza City hospital, publishing footage of the incident. It announced that it had killed a number of Hamas commanders in airstrikes over the past day, and provided details on its efforts to eliminate field commanders and disrupt the terror group’s operations in the Gaza Strip over the past few weeks.

An image circulating on social media showed troops of the IDF’s Golani Brigade inside Hamas’s parliament building in Gaza City, after capturing the site.

Monday night saw a rocket barrage launched from Gaza at central Israel for the first time since Friday. Sirens also sound in Ashkelon and other areas of southern Israel. There were no reports of injuries or damage.

RPG cell in a hospital

Troops killed members of a terror cell that opened fire at Israeli forces from Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City Monday. The cell at the hospital opened fire at troops of the 188th Armored Brigade with light arms and RPGs, while “embedded within a group of civilians at the entrance,” according to the IDF.

Israel says Hamas has command centers under hospitals in Gaza and are using the civilians there, including patients, as human shields.

With air support, IDF troops returned fire at the Hamas operatives, killing 21 of them. No troops were hurt, but one tank was damaged by an RPG, the IDF added.

During the exchange of fire, the IDF said civilians were seen leaving the hospital, and other gunmen came out of adjacent buildings and hid among them.

After firing RPGs at troops, the IDF said the gunmen fled back into the hospital.

The military released footage of the battle that appeared to show RPG-wielding gunmen running into the hospital.

“This incident is another example of Hamas’s continued abuse of civilian structures, including hospitals, to carry out attacks,” the IDF said.

Hamas commanders killed, operations disrupted

The IDF said it had killed a number of Hamas commanders in airstrikes in the Strip over the past day. Among the senior officers was Yakub Ashur, the commander of Hamas’s anti-tank guided missile array in the terror group’s Khan Younis Brigade, the IDF says.

The IDF said Ashur, “as part of his role, took part in leading and directing offenses against IDF forces.”

Separate strikes also killed Hamis Dababash, a veteran member of the terror group and the former head of Hamas’s intelligence division; Tahsin Maslam, the head of the combat support company for Hamas’s special operations in Beit Lahia; Jihad Azam, a Hamas intelligence officer in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City; and Munir Harb, head of information in the Rafah Brigade.

According to the IDF, before October 7, Hamas had some 30,000 fighters in the Gaza Strip, split into five regional brigades, 24 battalions and some 140 companies. Each Hamas brigade has an anti-tank missile array, sniper and engineering teams, air defenses, and a rocket firing array, the IDF says. Each brigade also has a number of outposts and strongholds in their respective regions.

The IDF said it had focused on killing the commanders of the brigades and battalions, especially those in northern Gaza where the military is carrying out its ground offensive.

According to the IDF, the Hamas battalions in northern Gaza have suffered “significant blows” and many are struggling to carry out large-scale organized attacks. It said Hamas’s Shati Camp and Daraj-Tuffah battalions had been hit the hardest.

The Shati Camp Battalion’s deputy commander, several company commanders and 200 more operatives have been killed in Israeli airstrikes and ground operations. Some of the battalion’s main strongholds have been captured by the IDF, but it is also tasked with the terror group’s main command center under Shifa Hospital, according to the military.

Meanwhile, the Daraj-Tuffah Battalion has also suffered heavy losses in IDF operations. The military says it has killed its entire senior command, including the battalion commander, his deputy, and several company commanders, along with 260 operatives.

Humanitarian conditions

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees said Monday that its Gaza operations would shut down within two days due to fuel shortages.

“The humanitarian operation in Gaza will grind to a halt in the next 48 hours, as no fuel is allowed to enter Gaza,” UNRWA’s Gaza chief Thomas White writes on X, formerly Twitter.

White also wrote on X, “No fuel has entered Gaza since 7 October.” Israel has blocked fuel transfers to Gaza, saying it would be a key lifeline for Hamas’s war efforts. It did say it offered 300 liters of fuel to Shifa Hospital on Sunday, but Hamas prevented the embattled medical center from accepting it.

Also calling for humanitarian aid, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh on Monday asked the European Union and the United Nations to “parachute aid” into Gaza.

“I call on the United Nations and the European Union to parachute aid into the Gaza Strip, especially the north,” he says, referring to the area where the IDF ground offensive is underway.

Organizations would not be able to do so without prior coordination with Israel. Israel has already allowed Jordan to carry out an airdrop of aid into Gaza.

Most aid is entering Gaza through the Egyptian-controlled Rafah border crossing.

In the south of the Strip on Monday afternoon, an evacuation took place for 69 Jordanian citizens residing in Gaza who were allowed to leave through the Rafah crossing, according to the Jordanian Foreign Ministry.

A team from the Jordanian embassy in Egypt was at the crossing to receive the citizens, providing medical assistance and securing their return to Jordan as quickly as possible, the statement added.

Monday also saw the European Union condemn Hamas for its use of hospitals and civilians as “human shields.”

One of Hamas’s main command centers is widely believed to be located under Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, which the Israel Defense Forces has closed in on in recent days.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said that, at the same time, the bloc asked Israel “for maximum restraint and targeting in order to avoid human casualties.”

The EU nations also said they join “calls for immediate pauses in hostilities and the establishment of humanitarian corridors, including through increased capacity at border crossings and through a dedicated maritime route, so that humanitarian aid can safely reach the population of Gaza.”

And they reiterated their “call on Hamas for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. It is crucial that the International Committee of the Red Cross is granted access to the hostages.”

Soldiers photographed with Israeli flags inside Hamas’s parliament building; army details elimination of multiple Hamas commanders in effort to disrupt terror group’s operations.

Source: The Times of Israel

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