update deskIsrael at War

Five IDF soldiers slain in Gaza over the weekend

The IDF continues to expand the fight in Rafah in the south and begins mass evacuations from Jabalia in the north ahead of a major operation.

Israeli forces operating in Gaza City's Zeitoun neighborhood, May 10, 2024. Credit: IDF.
Israeli forces operating in Gaza City's Zeitoun neighborhood, May 10, 2024. Credit: IDF.

Five IDF soldiers were killed in Gaza over the weekend as the army issued evacuation orders for Jabalia in the northern Strip ahead of a major operation after attempts by Hamas to regroup there.

The IDF on Saturday night announced the death of Staff Sgt. Ariel Tsym, 20, from Modi’in. He was a combat soldier in the 931st Battalion’s Nahal Infantry Brigade who was killed in action in the northern Gaza Strip.

On Friday, the military published the names of four soldiers, all aged 19, who were killed in action in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood. They are Sgt. Itay Livny, Sgt. Yosef Dassa, Sgt. Ermiyas Mekuriyaw and Sgt. Daniel Levy. The four men were also from the 931st Battalion of the Nahal Brigade.

The casualties raise the military death toll to 272 since the start of ground operations in Gaza on Oct. 27 and to 620 on all fronts since the start of the war of Oct. 7.

Upcoming battle in Jabalia

The IDF on Saturday morning called for noncombatants to evacuate the Jabalia area of northern Gaza “following attempts by Hamas to reassemble its terrorist infrastructure and operatives in the area.”

According to the army, 100,000 to 150,000 civilians will need to temporarily relocate to shelters in western Gaza City “to reduce harm to the civilian population and to move civilians away from the combat zone, in accordance with international law.”

This is the first mass evacuation and major operation in northern Gaza since the IDF declared full operational control there in January.

The IDF said that the lack of a government decision to replace Hamas with another authority to manage Gaza has wasted many of the military’s operational achievements and could threaten the wider war effort as the enemy continues to attempt to reestablish itself.

Intensifying combat in Zeitoun

As part of the intensification of activities in another area of northern Gaza, Zeitoun, where the five soldiers were killed, the IDF said that terrorists were killed and large amounts of weapons were confiscated, including AK-47 rifles, military vests and additional weapons and military equipment that were hidden inside a medical clinic.

Israeli Air Force fighter jets also struck terror targets across the Gaza Strip in recent days, including “military” structures, observation posts, terrorist operatives and additional terrorist infrastructure.

Rafah fight expands

The IDF also expanded its evacuation orders for eastern Rafah in southernmost Gaza from 100,000 to 300,000 people, as part of a targeted operation that began last week that included taking control of the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing to Egypt.

IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said on Saturday night that dozens of terrorists have been killed, underground tunnels uncovered and weapons confiscated during the operation so far, stressing that the activities there “remain limited in scope and focus on tactical advances; tactical adjustments; and military advantages — and have avoided densely populated areas.”

He provided an update on Israel’s humanitarian efforts in the Gaza Strip.

“Over the last few days we facilitated the entry of 200,000 liters of fuel through the Kerem Shalom Crossing; we facilitated and coordinated the opening of a new field hospital in central Gaza; and we are operating
to enable the flow of humanitarian aid to Rafah through the Salah Al-Din Road,” Hagari said.

‘Rafah op to last two months’

Israel estimates that the operation in Rafah will last around two months.

The battle, which began on May 6, is being carried out in phases, with the eastern part of the city being targeted after the evacuation of noncombatants to a humanitarian zone in Al-Mawasi. This is instead of full-scale invasion opposed by the United States, with President Joe Biden telling CNN last week that he would cut off the supply of offensive weapons should Israel proceed with a wider offensive.

The limited operation allows for it to be paused should a hostage release deal be reached with the Hamas terrorist organization.

“After the operation in the southern city in the Gaza Strip ends, Israel will have to decide who will take control of the Rafah Crossing and how it will build a significant force against the murderous terrorist organization Hamas,” according to a Channel 12 report.

“So far there has been no discussion in the Cabinet on the issue, which leads the IDF forces to return again and again to places that have already been cleansed of terrorism—and to be harmed by terrorists, who are trying to rehabilitate their terrorist infrastructure,” according to the report.

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