Israel declares end of ‘intense phase’ of war in northern Gaza: what’s next?

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant on Monday announced the end of the “intense phase” of the war in the northern Gaza Strip. And he announced that it would soon end in the Khan Yunis area as well, where fighting is now concentrated in the south of the enclave.

(Also: At least one dead and 17 injured in an accident in the Israeli city of Ra’anana)

Gallant said troops were conducting low-intensity operations in the northern strip “after defeating all Hamas battalions in the area.” The same day the Israeli army reported the withdrawal of one of the active divisions in the enclave, where three still remained.

“In the south of the Gaza Strip, the intensive phase will end soon,” Gallant said, in reference to the battle for Khan Yunis, the Hamas stronghold in the south, without giving an exact timetable.

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The minister indicated this Israeli soldiers in Khan Yunis are focused on finding the “head of the snake”, pointing to the Hamas leadership, which they believe is hidden in the underground tunnels of that city.,

Israel’s priority is to find Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and its military wing chief Mohammed Deif, both considered masterminds of the brutal October 7 attack on Israeli soil that killed more than 1,200 and kidnapped about 250. .

“We also cut off the roads leading to Rafah, above and below ground,” Galant said of the interruption of communications between Khan Yunis and Rafah, at the southern end of the enclave, to prevent Hamas leaders from escaping.

for its part, In the north of the Strip, where Israeli forces have almost complete military control, troops are already engaged in low-intensity operations “to locate the remaining Hamas hideouts and kill or capture the last operatives of the terrorist group.”The minister clarified.

The minister’s statements coincide with the Israeli army’s announcement about the withdrawal of the 36th Division from the ground, for a period of recovery and training, as part of the Israeli strategy of a long-term campaign against Hamas, including strengthening the troops. also includes. In the West Bank, where violence is increasing.

On Gaza after the war, Gallant indicated it should be governed by Palestinians, allaying fears that Israel could occupy and colonize the area, as requested by the extreme right.,

If the fire stops, the fate of the hostages who have been held captive by Hamas for many years will be sealed.

Minutes after Hamas published a new propaganda video in which it reported the alleged death of two other hostages under a bomb, Gallant insisted that only “military pressure” would allow the captives to be released.

“If the fire stops, the fate of the hostages will be sealed for many years in Hamas captivity. Without military pressure no one will talk to us. Only with a strong position can the hostages be released,” he said.

Minister’s comments on hostages come at a time of great frustration from familiesThose who believe that the government should negotiate and military pressure have not allowed the release of any detainees in almost two months.

For their part, Al Qassam and Al Quds Brigades, the armed wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad respectively, also confirmed armed clashes with Israeli troops in the center of Gaza and in Khan Yunis, the main city in the south of the strip. The fighting has not stopped for more than a month.

In the past 24 hours, the Gazan Hamas government confirmed more than 130 deaths in 12 “occupation massacres”, leading to The death toll from the more than 100-day offensive has already reached more than 24,100 – in addition to about 8,000 bodies estimated to be missing under the debris – and the number of wounded stands at 60,800.,

Most of these deaths were caused by Israeli airstrikes, often against residential buildings, which were concentrated in the center and south of the enclave, although about 30 people were killed in bombings in two peripheral areas of Gaza City in the north.

Palestinian sources told EFE that the bombing occurred in the centre, in the Magazi camp, near a girls’ secondary school where “a large number of displaced people are taking refuge.”

Moreover, for the fourth consecutive day, Communications and internet services are down, partly due to fuel shortages and more than 80% of the infrastructure in the strip has been destroyed.The enclave has suffered the seventh communications blackout since Israeli forces began ground incursions.

In the words of the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) today, the strip, where approximately 2 million displaced people are living in overcrowded conditions and at risk of famine, is heading towards its greatest humanitarian catastrophe, where “life It’s hell.” , Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who condemned more than 300 attacks on health networks and humanitarian agencies in the 100 days of conflict.

The WHO chief lamented, “There are patients who undergo avoidable amputations due to the destruction of health systems, and those who suffer from chronic diseases who die in the absence of treatment. ”

While fighting continues against Israeli troops, Hamas today published a propaganda video in which it announced the death of two hostages, 53-year-old Yossi Sharabi and 38-year-old Itay Swirsky, under a bomb, although Israel has not confirmed the information.,

Hamas also celebrated, but did not claim responsibility, several attacks by two Palestinians in the Israeli town of Ra’anana, north of Tel Aviv, including stabbings and attacking cars, killing a 70-year-old woman and injuring others. Doing was involved. 17 people, out of which 7 are minors.

The attackers were two relatives who had entered Israel illegally from Hebron in the occupied West Bank, where two other Palestinians were killed today by Israeli gunfire in an army attack in the nearby city of Dura.


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