Israel targets southern Gaza; after Khan Younis, it targets Rafah
The Israeli Armed Forces “destroyed” the infrastructure of Hamas in Khan Younis, more than two months after entering the main city of the southern Gaza Strip, and believed that the head of the Palestinian faction in Gaza was hiding there, a high-ranking military officer said this Thursday.
The development of Khan Younis led Israel to describe Rafah, further south and along Gaza’s border with Egypt, as the next target for a ground sweep of troops and tanks. In fact, today, Israel is conducting several airstrikes in Rafah.
Most of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents are now sheltering in the area after being displaced from other areas by four months of fighting, fearing they will be next in line of fire.
The situation in Rafah, after Khan Younis, the largest city in the south, is also monitored by Cairo, which refuses to allow any refugees to leave through the fence to the Sinai Peninsula.
A senior Israeli military official stated that operations in Khan Younis to destroy Hamas and recover any hostages that may be there will continue if necessary, even if it takes “two hours, two days, two weeks, two months, or more.”.
Israeli troops killed 2,000 fighters, wounded 4,000, and captured “hundreds,” in the words of the official, who asked not to be identified. “The Khan Yunis Brigade is the most powerful that Hamas has. “We dismantled it, layer by layer,” he added. It also detailed how attacks by Palestinian fighters were extremely random, suggesting the loss of command and control.
Khan Yunis is the birthplace of the leader of Hamas in Gaza, Yahia Sinwar, the mastermind of the October 7 wave of murders and kidnappings in southern Israel that sparked the war. “He is undoubtedly in Khan Yunis, along with some of the remaining Hamas leaders,” the Israeli military continued.
The Israeli army has published pictures of alleged Hamas tunnels discovered in Khan Younis, with living spaces and cells, where they are believed to be holding hostages.
The Israeli army estimated that 228 soldiers were killed and 1,314 wounded in the ground operations in the Strip, which began on October 20. (Reuters)