Israeli Troops Fighting “In The Heart” Of Gaza City, Hamas Leader Surrounded In A Bunker

Update(1339ET): Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant issued a Tuesday battlefield update announcing that for the first time Israeli troops are “in the heart” of Gaza City. He then said, that “Gaza is the largest terrorist base ever built” and further, “We are going to destroy Hamas.”

The defense chief also appeared to reject US pressure to implement a humanitarian “pause”. Gallant emphasized, “there will be no humanitarian truce without the return of the hostages.” He further said the IDF now has Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar surrounded in a bunker. He noted that fighting is happening in residential areas.

A new speech by Prime Minister Netanyahu affirmed the same, and again put Hezbollah in Lebanon on notice:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the IDF has been reaching deeper into Gaza than Hamas ever imagined, warning Lebanon’s Hezbollah that it would be making the “greatest mistake of its life” if it opens a new full-on war front.

Speaking from the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu says he is addressing the nation in order to update them on the war.

“In the south, the war is moving forward with force that Hamas has never seen,” he says. “Gaza City is surrounded. We are operating within it, we are deepening the pressure on Hamas every hour, every day.”

“There will be no entry of fuel into Gaza or a ceasefire without the return of the kidnapped people,” he also said.

A Sky News correspondent in southern Israel has remarked this will be the most “complex urban fighting environment that any soldier will have to deal with”. Soldiers on the ground inside Gaza City could make any airstrikes “potentially be more accurate” – the correspondent noted.

Hamas has meanwhile continued claiming to have taken out multiple Israeli tanks and military vehicles:

Massive overnight explosions have been observed in South Lebanon as Israel attacks Hezbollah positions, responding to ongoing fire…

* * *

The Biden White House has lately floated a plan that would see international peacekeeping forces control the security situation in the Gaza Strip once the war is over, which is premised on the total demise of Hamas, proving no small task especially given the immense network of miles of tunnels the group can utilize.

The post-Hamas “day after” has also been subject of proposals out of some leading Congressmen. There was speculation at first that Israeli leadership might welcome this, but a new televised interview with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu which aired Monday night reveals different thinking in Tel Aviv. Netanyahu asserted it is Israel which will have “security responsibility” over the Gaza Strip for some ‘indefinite’ amount of time after the conflict is over.

Image: AFP via Getty Images

“I think Israel will for an indefinite period have security responsibility,” Netanyahu told ABC News. “We’ve seen what happens when we don’t have that… security responsibility, what we have is the eruption of Hamas terror on a scale that we couldn’t imagine.”

The comments come after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have confirmed 30 Israeli troops have been killed in combat in Gaza since the ground war was launched. At this point over 10,000 Gazans – mostly civilians – have been killed, primarily by the unrelenting aerial assault. But here’s what Blinken said just last week in Israel:

“The idea of Hamas remaining responsible for governance such as it was and posing an ongoing and enduring threat to Israel and its citizens is unacceptable,” said Blinken. “We also know that Israel cannot reassume control and responsibility for Gaza, and it’s important to note that Israel has made it clear that it has no intention or desire to do that. So within those parameters, we are and will continue to have discussions with partners throughout the region and well beyond about what should follow.”

After US Secretary of State Antony Blinken just traveled to region again to meet with both Israeli and Arab leaders, it became clear that Washington is not in favor of a ceasefire, but Biden’s top diplomat did push for humanitarian pauses. 

Netanyahu in the ABC interview said he is open to “tactical little pauses” for the sake of hostages getting out and also humanitarian aid getting in, but emphasized that the IDF is ready to begin taking the fight to the tunnels, where Hamas commanders and fighters can wait out airstrikes while mounting sporadic ambush operations against tank units. 

At one point in the interview, Netanyahu was asked about the security failures of Oct.7, which resulted in over 1,400 Israelis in the south of the country being slaughtered: “Do you believe that you should take any responsibility?”

He replied: “Of course. It’s not a question,” and said there will be time after the war “to allocate” that responsibility and assess what happened. A week ago he issued a statement, before quickly retracting, which appeared to blame the military and its leadership for Oct. 7.

The deleted statement which generated the outrage, having been briefly posted to X, said: “Under no circumstances and at no stage was Prime Minister Netanyahu warned of war intentions on the part of Hamas.” It continued, “On the contrary, the assessment of the entire security echelon, including the head of military intelligence and the head of Shin Bet, was that Hamas was deterred and was seeking an arrangement.”

But in the new ABC remarks he didn’t delve into much detail on this question of taking responsibility for severe failures which left the door open to the single deadliest terror attack in Israel’s history. Netanyahu’s political opponents have accused him of using the crisis to solidify power using the guise of the wartime emergency government.

Loading…

This post was originally published on this site