While it’s premature to claim victory, Israel is steadily advancing in its efforts to eliminate Hamas in Gaza.
Only 8% of Israelis support returning control of Gaza to the Palestinians; the majority believe it should remain under international (41%) or Israeli control (44%).
After ten hours of combat, the Israeli Defense Force seized a significant Hamas stronghold in the volatile area of West Jabaliya on Thursday morning. Forces continued to advance into the heart of Gaza City, targeting the suspected underground headquarters of the terrorist group.
“The IDF death toll since the start of the Gaza ground operation rose to 35 on Thursday, as the military said another soldier had been killed in combat,” The Times of Israel reported.
A significant number of terrorists from the Hamas ‘Nukhba force,’ involved in the October 7 massacre, were neutralized. This includes the elimination of the commander Ahmed Musa and the platoon commander Amr Alhandi, who had barricaded themselves in western Jabaliya.
Israeli troops raised the Israeli flag on the Gaza beach and sang the national anthem.
Israel also seized the largest mosque in Gaza and broadcast the prayer song “Hear O Israel” to signal their approach to the hostages.
IDF soldiers captured a Hamas military post and training compound in the heart of the Gaza Strip, seizing missiles, UAVs, maps, communication devices, mortars, attack drones, and technological assets. Approximately 30 terrorists were neutralized in the operation. The soldiers also conducted a raid on the office of Muhammad Sinwar, the brother of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.
“The troops completed the takeover of the outpost after 10 hours of fighting, during which they eliminated terrorists, captured many weapons and uncovered terrorist tunnel shafts, including a shaft located near a kindergarten and leading to an extensive underground route,” according to the IDF.
Troops also found “significant” operational plans, the army said.
The IDF announced on Thursday that they killed Ibrahim Abu Maasib, the head of Hamas’s anti-tank missile unit in central Gaza. He was responsible for launching cross-border attacks against Israeli citizens and IDF soldiers using anti-tank missiles.
Since the beginning of the operation, the Israeli Navy has eliminated approximately 200 terrorists, including numerous Hamas naval commandos. Naval vessels have targeted a wide range of terrorist assets, including observation posts, anti-tank missile teams, enemy vessels, as well as infrastructure and bases belonging to Hamas.
The special operations unit Shayetet 13 of the Israeli Navy has conducted commando raids in the Gaza Strip as well.
As Hamas continues to stay concealed in underground tunnels, they might have dug their own grave.
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