Israeli forces have completed the destruction of Hamas’s military capabilities in the northern Gaza Strip, Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said in a press briefing on Saturday night, three months into Israel’s war with the terrorist group.
“We have completed the dismantling of Hamas’ frameworks in the north of the Gaza Strip, and we will continue to deepen the achievement and strengthen the barrier and the defense elements at the border,” Hagari said.
He added that the IDF is now “focusing on dismantling Hamas in the center of the Gaza Strip and in the south of the Gaza Strip.”
Israel began an intensive bombing campaign against Hamas shortly after the terror group’s bloody invasion of the northwestern Negev on Oct. 7; ground forces entered the coastal enclave on Oct. 27.
Furthermore, Hagari said that approximately 70 million files have been confiscated, containing intelligence information on senior Hamas officials in Gaza and abroad.
Hamas commander killed
The IDF reported on Saturday the killing of the commander of Hamas’s Nuseirat battalion, Ismail Sarraj, and his deputy, Ahmed Wahaba.
The Nuseirat Battalion launched what the IDF called “significant” raids into Israel during the Oct. 7 massacre, specifically the attack on Kibbutz Be’eri.
Sarraj had previously served as the head of Hamas’ Nukhba force and worked in the production of weapons.
Wahaba became Sarraj’s deputy after the IDF eliminated his previous number two, Abdel Rahman, during the first weeks of the war in Gaza.
Wahaba held a number of positions within Hamas over the years, including training new terrorists.
Hamas Nukhba terrorists killed; rocket launch sites destroyed
The IDF reported that fighters from its Golani infantry brigade operating in Al Bureij in the central Gaza Strip had identified and killed a number of Nukbah terrorists loading weapons into a vehicle. At the same time, forces from the Nahal infantry brigade operating in the area of Beit Lahi, in northern Gaza just to the south of the border with Israel, had located and destroyed a site from which rockets were fired into the Ashkelon region to the north of Gaza.
During raids carried out on Saturday, Israeli forces located and destroyed a terrorist compound containing dozens of rocket launchers, according to the IDF.
In addition, in the center of the Gaza Strip, the IDF’s 646th Brigade Combat Team uncovered a weapons lathe factory, as well as two tunnel shafts inside a nearby building. All three sites were destroyed.
A number of terrorists were also eliminated during the operations.
In Al Ma’azi, Golani forces located a shaft containing many weapons.
IDF, Israel Security Agency chiefs enter Hamas tunnels in Khan Yunis
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi and the head of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) Ronen Bar on Saturday entered the Hamas tunnels in the heart of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.
Joining them in the tunnels were the head of IDF Southern Command, the head of the intelligence division, the commander of Division 98, and special forces.
Halevi said that the soldiers’ work in the Hamas stronghold was “very much appreciated.” He also admitted that it was a “complicated fight.”
“You have a very big advantage over those who fight you,” he said. “There is no strength here in the entire Gaza Strip like yours, not the personnel, not the framework, not the equipment, not the abilities, not the training, so every time, go strong.”
Nukbha “military” equipment found in UNRWA sacks
The IDF also revealed on Saturday that weapons and military equipment belonging to Hamas’s elite Nukbha unit was found inside sacks belonging to UNRWA, the United Nations agency tasked with supporting Palestinian refugees.
Forces from the 179th Brigade Combat Team made the discovery in a clinic in Gaza City.
Military vests, RPG launchers, Kalashnikov rifles and ammunition were found in the UNRWA sacks.
Nukhba terrorists led the Oct. 7 onslaught into southern Israel that resulted in the murder of 1,200 people, mostly civilians. Thousands more were wounded and 240 hostages were taken back to Gaza.
The number of men, women, children, soldiers and foreigners held captive in Gaza by Hamas is now believed to be 129. Other people remain unaccounted for as Israeli authorities continue to identify bodies and search for human remains.
Israeli forces find weapons and inciting games for children
Weapons and games designed to incite children to violence were discovered in a Hamas commander’s home in the outskirts of Khan Yunis as Israeli forces battled a Hamas terror squad holed up in a nearby school, the IDF said on Saturday.
The IDF said three Hamas operatives were killed inside the school in Khan Yunis’s Bani Suheila neighborhood. The three were carrying RPGs and intelligence about Hamas’s Khan Yunis Brigade.
Inside the nearby home of a commander, soldiers found a large cache of weapons, including grenades, magazines and combat vests. The IDF said some of the weapons were found inside a child’s bedroom next to various toys and games.
One photo released by the IDF showed a puzzle featuring armed Arab children attacking Israel.
Also on Saturday, the IDF released a video of senior IDF officers holding a general assessment within Khan Yunis on Friday.
Israeli soldier slain in Gaza
The IDF announced another casualty in the Gaza Strip, bringing the death toll since the start of ground operations on Oct. 27 to 176 and 510 since the war began on Oct. 7.
Lt. Col. Roee Yohay Yosef Mordechai, 31, from Tel Aviv, was killed in battle in northern Gaza, according to the IDF.