Hamas has lost control of the Gaza Strip, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant proclaimed on Monday, as the Israel Defense Forces said its troops were continuing to deliver “significant blows” to the Palestinian terror group.
“There is no force of Hamas capable of stopping the IDF. The IDF is advancing to every point. … Terrorists are fleeing south. Civilians are looting Hamas bases. They have no confidence in the [Hamas] government,” Gallant said following a situational assessment.
Israeli forces in Gaza are operating “according to plans and carry out the tasks accurately, lethally,” said the defense minister, adding that the IDF was “intensifying” its actions against Hamas’s extensive tunnel network.
“We work according to tasks. We don’t have a stopwatch. We have goals. We will achieve our goals,” insisted Gallant.
Shortly after Gallant spoke, Israeli media shared a picture of IDF soldiers holding up Israeli flags inside Hamas’s parliament building in Gaza City.
In the past 24 hours, airstrikes have killed six senior Hamas commanders, the IDF announced on Monday, adding that it was mainly targeting terror operatives in northern Gaza, where the military is conducting a ground offensive.
According to the IDF, many Hamas terrorists are now unable to carry out large-scale attacks due to their commanders having been killed in Israeli operations.
“Hamas has suffered significant damage to its command structures, combat capabilities and intelligence resources,” the IDF said Monday.
Among the terrorists killed in airstrikes on Monday was Muhammad Hamis Dababesh, a senior Hamas terrorist who previously served as the group’s head of intelligence.
Dababesh directed a terror attack on the Atzmona pre-military academy in Gush Katif in March 2002, in which five Israelis were murdered and many others were injured.
Israeli forces also eliminated Yakub Ashur, head of the anti-tank system in Hamas’s Khan Yunis Brigade. Separate strikes targeted Tahsin Maslam, the commander responsible for Hamas’s special forces in Beit Lahia; Jihad Azam, a Hamas intelligence officer in Gaza City’s Zeitoun district; and Munir Harb, head of the information system in the Rafah Brigade.
Hamas’s Shati Camp and Daraj Tuffah battalions have sustained “significant damage,” the IDF said Monday. The latter battalion is considered Hamas’s most significant, and its operatives played a significant role in the Oct. 7 massacre of 1,200 people in southern Israel.
Decrease in Red Alert sirens
Meanwhile, Palestinian terrorists on Monday night fired a barrage of rockets at central and southern Israel, sending more than a million people to bomb shelters.
Israel has seen a decrease in Red Alert sirens warning of incoming rockets, drones and terrorist infiltrations since the IDF launched “Operation Swords of Iron” on Oct. 7, IDF Home Front Command data shows.
Earlier on Monday, the IDF announced its forces killed 21 terrorists after a squad embedded with civilians and fired rocket-propelled grenades and an anti-tank missile at them from the entrance to Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City.
Soldiers identified the terror squad among the civilians carrying two RPG launchers and fired at them. During the exchange of fire, civilians left the hospital building and other terrorists who came out of buildings in the area joined the attempted attack.
Forces from the 188th Armored Brigade combat team responded with live fire and shelling toward the source of the shooting, killing 21 terrorists. No casualties to Israeli forces were reported.
Israeli forces on the ground in Gaza continue to find Hamas terrorist infrastructure located within civilian sites, including at Al-Quds University and the Abu Bakr Mosque, the IDF said.
Israeli forces on Monday uncovered a section of the mosque housing a large number of explosive devices and flammable materials. Soldiers also confiscated dozens of weapons, military equipment and Hamas operational plans.
A planned second phase of Hamas’s Oct. 7 assault involved joining forces with terrorists in Judea and Samaria, The Washington Post reported on Sunday, citing Western and Middle Eastern security officials briefed on evidence obtained by Israel.
One group of terrorists carried maps and other surveillance information suggesting their plan was to continue on to the border with southern Judea, two senior Middle East intelligence officials and one former U.S. official familiar with the evidence told the newspaper.