After weeks of fierce battles, Israeli forces have gained the upper hand over Hamas’s West Khan Yunis Battalion in southern Gaza, the IDF reported on Sunday morning.
The Givati Infantry Brigade combat team “deepened the damage” to the enemy battalion and “strengthened its operational grip on the area,” killing around 100 terrorists in combined aerial and ground attacks involving firing tank shells, sniper ambushes and airstrikes “in dense spaces full of enemies.”
In making the case for moving troops from Khan Yunis to nearby Rafah, the last Hamas stronghold in the Strip, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week that 18 out of 24 Hamas battalions had been neutralized.
However, during a visit to Khan Yunis on Saturday, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi cautioned that “we are far from finishing” the fighting in the city while summarizing the operation so far as “a great success.”
He was joined by Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) head Ronen Bar, who added that it will be “impossible for [Hamas] to recover from” the IDF’s dismantlement of the terrorist group’s intelligence and command capabilities.
Ground forces have killed more than 1,200 terrorists and airstrikes have killed another 1,200 to 1,300 terrorists in Khan Yunis, they said. Halevi added that he wants “more dead [terrorist] commanders and senior officers” in upcoming operations.
In the center of the Strip, combat team fighters from the Nahal Infantry Brigade killed terrorists and directed airstrikes on several Hamas targets.
Israeli naval forces fired on Hamas targets in support of the combat teams.
At least 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were murdered and 253 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on Oct. 7. Of the remaining 136 hostages, Israel recently declared 32 of them dead, with fears that another 20 are no longer alive.
20 oxygen tanks to Khan Yunis hospital
The IDF recently facilitated the delivery of more than 20 oxygen tanks and other medical equipment to Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Yunis. This was done in coordination with the hospital and international aid organizations.
Hamas terrorists used the medical center as a hideout and there was intense combat in the area, adding to the difficult operation to transfer the oxygen tanks and additional equipment for the patients there.
Terrorists arrested, explosives lab located in Judea and Samaria
Israel forces arrested eight wanted persons and located a lab for producing explosive charges during overnight counterterrorism operations across Judea and Samaria on Saturday.
“The fighters confiscated dozens of illegal vehicles alongside military equipment, incendiary materials, ready-to-use Molotov cocktails and other weapons,” the IDF said.
Since the start of the war on Oct. 7, over 3,060 terrorists have been arrested in Judea and Samaria, including more than 1,350 Hamas operatives.