Israel Says It’s Nearing End Of Ground Offensive In North Gaza

Israel Says It’s Nearing End Of Ground Offensive In North Gaza, is fighting in new areas

Dec. 21, 2023, 8:04 a.m.

Spokesman says army has dismantled most Hamas battalions in the area and has begun battling terrorists in the Gaza City neighborhoods of Daraj and Tuffah, adjacent to Shejaiya.

The Israel Defense Forces is nearing the end of its ground offensive in the northern Gaza Strip after dismantling most Hamas battalions in the area, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said on Wednesday.

The military has begun fighting Hamas in the Gaza City neighborhoods of Daraj and Tuffah, adjacent to Shejaiya, he said, nearly two months since the IDF began the ground offensive, which has focused largely on northern Gaza.

On the Hamas tunnel network found hidden beneath Palestine Square in Gaza City, Hagari said during a briefing that “senior Hamas members managed the fighting on October 7 [from the area].”

The commander of the aerial array was killed in an Israeli airstrike in late October. Many other top members of the array were killed during the war, according to the IDF.

Also at the beginning of the fighting, the IDF said it destroyed Hamas’s “aerial detection capabilities.”

The IDF said it has also foiled attempts by Hamas to fire missiles at Israeli aircraft and rockets at troops operating in the Gaza Strip, as well as targeting drone launch sites on the roofs of civilian buildings.

Aharon said all of Hamas’s top officials, including Haniyeh, Deif and Sinwar, had either offices or homes near the square, with personal tunnel shafts to the underground network, linking their hideouts, offices, and homes away from Israeli surveillance.

The army believes the shafts were used by the senior Hamas officials to hide deep underground when the terror group launched its murderous terror attack on southern Israel on October 7.

The brutal assault saw thousands of Hamas-led terrorists pour into Israel from the land, air and sea, where they killed more than 1,200 people and seized some 240 hostages, many of whom remain in Gaza.

According to the IDF, the tunnel network featured blast doors and living quarters, adding that in some cases troops operating inside the tunnels found stores of food and water left behind, indicating plans to stay hidden in the underground sites for long periods.

The underground network also allowed the top Hamas members to flee to other areas of the Strip as Israel launched its ground offensive against the terror group.

In a statement Wednesday, the army described the complex as an “underground terror city” with a “strategic tunnel route connected to other significant underground infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.

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