IDF expand ground offensive into Gaza’s central urban camps

Three more soldiers have also been killed in action in the Gaza Strip


Israeli troops operating in the Gaza Strip on December 27 (Photo: IDF)

(JNS) Israeli forces on Tuesday expanded the ground campaign into urban refugee camps in the central Gaza Strip, and are continuing to fight in Khan Yunis in the south.

“The IDF forces are fighting in the Gaza Strip in Khan Yunis, and we have expanded the fighting to the area called the ‘central camps,'” IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said during a press briefing on Tuesday night.

“We are operating in Khan Yunis with new methods and with a different force composition in the face of the challenge, and the same is true in the central camps. We will continue to adapt the operation, the method and the composition of the forces according to the operational needs,” he continued.

On Tuesday, forces from the IDF’s 36th Division launched an attack on terror infrastructure in the al-Bureij camp in central Gaza, which the army described as an “established Hamas terror nest.”

During the operation, Israeli forces located a tunnel shaft leading to a wide underground route and a Hamas training complex containing many weapons.

The ground offensive in the central camps comes about a month after an Israeli air strike killed Ayman Nofal, the commander of Hamas’s Central Brigade.

With regard to Shejaia, Division 36 commander Brig. Gen. Dado Bar Khalifa said, “The fighting in Shejaia was difficult and complex and we managed to achieve significant achievements during it. Shejaia will no longer be a terror centre for Hamas.”

“The IDF is not stopping,” he continued. “Division 36 is moving to its tasks in the centre camps, the fight against terrorism in the camps will be a fundamental move. The battalions of the centre camps are currently meeting the strength of the IDF. They will cease to function as other battalions have ceased to function. We are crippling Hamas in the centre of the Gaza Strip as well. All in order to meet the goals we set for ourselves.”

The IDF said on Wednesday morning, the 82nd day of the war, that 200 terrorist targets were attacked over the past 24 hours across the Gaza Strip.

Ground and aerial forces combined to eliminate terror cells in the Shejaia area.

The IDF said that soldiers identified Hamas terrorists passing between buildings in the combat zone from which shots were fired at Israeli forces. Ground troops directed an Air Force aircraft to attack and eliminate the terrorists. The attack resulted in secondary explosions, indicating that the area was used as a base.

Furthermore, the Israeli Air Force was directed by ground troops to kill terrorists and destroy a weapons warehouse after two terrorists were spotted arriving there in a vehicle.

Also, in the Daraj and Tuffah areas of Gaza City, IDF tanks were directed by ground forces to kill a terrorist holding a short-range anti-tank missile before he could fire at the troops.

Naval forces overnight attacked terrorists who posed a threat to ground forces in Gaza and attacked Hamas targets, as part of assisting the activities of the 14th Brigade along the coastline.

Red alert warnings for incoming rocket fire were heard in the Gaza border community of Nahal Oz on Wednesday morning, breaking 16 hours of silence in southern Israel.

Terrorists in the Gaza Strip have fired more than 12,500 rockets at Israeli territory since the mass invasion of October 7 when hordes of Hamas terrorists murdered, raped and pillaged their way across the northwestern Negev, killing 1,200 persons, mostly civilians, wounding thousands more and taking 240 hostages back to Gaza.

Meanwhile, the IDF released for publication on Wednesday morning the names of three more soldiers killed in action in the Gaza Strip, bringing the death toll since the start of ground operations on October 27 to 164 and the total military death toll since the war began on October 7 to 498.

All three soldiers fell in battle on Tuesday night in the northern Gaza Strip.

They are: Lt. Yaron Eliezer Chitiz, 23, from Ra’anana; Staff Sgt. Itay Buton, 20, from Petah Tikva; and Staff Sgt. Efraim Jackman, 21, from Neve Daniel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later visited IDF Intelligence Unit #9900 at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.

He was briefed on the IDF’s intelligence-gathering technologies and viewed artificial intelligence capabilities allowing for a three-dimensional view of the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu also visited the “Space Centre,” which gathers intelligence via satellites.

“We have soldiers on the ground, sometimes underground, and we have eyes in the sky,” the premier said.

“We say to the Hamas terrorists: We see you and we will reach you. We are continuing the war, and are intensifying the fighting in the southern Gaza Strip and other places. We will fight to the end, with the help of the most advanced technology.”

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