Israeli soldiers killed more than 15 Hamas terrorists and arrested 10 Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives in northern Gaza, the IDF said on Wednesday morning.
The Islamic Jihad terrorists were detained during a “significant targeted raid” on terrorist infrastructure embedded at a school that the operatives were using as a hideout.
Soldiers also found five rockets ready for launch in the area. The rockets and their launchers were destroyed.
In the central Gaza Strip, soldiers killed 10 armed Palestinian terrorists in less than an hour, then killed several others spotted in the area.
In the Fati Shati area of northern Gaza and in Khan Yunis in the south, Israeli aircraft struck terrorist squads seen operating close to Israeli ground forces. Afterward, in Fati Shati, soldiers who searched nearby buildings found many weapons, military equipment and documents belonging to Hamas.
Also, in Khan Yunis, soldiers attacked a military structure Hamas used to ambush Israeli forces.
Three soldiers slain
The IDF death toll since the start of the Gaza ground offensive on Oct. 27 rose to 223 on Wednesday with the announcement of three additional soldiers killed in action the previous day.
Maj. (res.) Netzer Simchi, 30, from Masad in the Lower Galilee, fell in battle in the northern Gaza Strip; Capt. Gavriel Shani, 28, from Eli in the Binyamin region of Samaria, and Sgt. Maj. (res.) Yuval Nir, 43, from Kfar Etzion in Judea, were killed in fighting in southern Gaza.
Since the start of the war on Oct. 7, 560 IDF soldiers have been killed on all fronts.
Policeman killed on Oct. 7, taken to Gaza
The Israel Police said on Wednesday that one of its officers was murdered by Hamas during the Oct. 7 terrorist invasion and his corpse was taken to the Gaza Strip.
Sgt. First Class Ran Gvili of the Yasam Special Patrol Unit in the police’s Negev district died while battling terrorists in the northwestern Negev kibbutz of Alumim.
His death brings the number of police officers slain in the war to 61.
Gallant: IDF to retain security control in Gaza
The Israel Defense Forces will retain full security control over the Gaza Strip after the war with Hamas ends, giving it the freedom to operate there similarly to the way it does in Judea and Samaria, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told lawmakers on Tuesday.
“After the war, when it’s over, I think it’s completely clear that Hamas won’t control Gaza. Israel will control [it] militarily, but won’t control it in a civilian sense,” Gallant told members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee during a briefing at his Tel Aviv office.
“When we’re talking about military freedom of operation, look what happened tonight in Jenin,” said Gallant, referring to an IDF raid on Ibn Sina Hospital in the Samaria city on Monday. During the raid, Israeli forces killed three members of a Hamas cell planning imminent terrorist attacks, according to the IDF.
“This is military freedom of operation at the highest level, and yet we don’t control the area in a civilian sense,” said Gallant, adding that this is achievable in Gaza as well.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged on Tuesday not to free large numbers of Palestinian terrorists or withdraw troops from Gaza as part of a hostage deal with Hamas.
“We will not withdraw the Israel Defense Forces from the Gaza Strip and we will not release thousands of terrorists. None of this will happen,” Netanyahu told students and staff during a visit to the Bnei David pre-military academy in Eli in Samaria’s Binyamin region.
“I hear talk about all kinds of deals. I would like to make it clear: We will not conclude this war without achieving all of its goals. This means eliminating Hamas, returning all of our hostages and ensuring that Gaza never again constitutes a threat to Israel,” the premier said.
Fifty percent of Israelis are opposed to a hostage deal that would see an extended pause in fighting in Gaza and the release of thousands of Palestinian terrorists, according to a snap poll conducted by Israel’s Channel 12 on Tuesday.
The proposal reportedly under consideration would see the phased release of all 136 Israeli hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza. The first stage would include the freeing of women and children, as well as men over 60 years of age and captives who are wounded or sick, totaling some 35 to 40 people. There would be a 45-day halt to combat operations in the Strip during the initial stage. In addition, thousands of Palestinian terrorists, including murderers, would be released from Israeli prisons.