Several terrorists were killed off Israel’s southern coast after attempting to infiltrate into the Jewish state from the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces said on Tuesday night.
“Sea Corps soldiers attacked a terror cell that tried to infiltrate into Israeli territory by sea in the Zikim area,” the IDF confirmed, adding that jets struck the structure in Gaza from where the terrorists left.
According to Israel’s Channel 12, at least 10 terrorists were killed.
Residents of Zikim and Karmia were ordered to lock themselves in their homes, the broadcaster said.
Later on Tuesday night, the IDF’s Homefront Command also issued infiltration warnings for the nearby community of Netiv HaAsara.
The military will continue to scan the area for terrorist infiltrations overnight Tuesday, Channel 12 reported, including on the beach of Ashkelon.
On Monday, the IDF announced that five senior Hamas commanders had been killed in recent days, as the military continues to strike thousands of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.
On Oct. 14, the IDF eliminated Murad Abu Murad, head of Hamas’s aerial array in the Gaza Strip. The array played a significant role in the terrorist group’s Oct. 7 massacre of western Negev communities, according to the military.
The four other aerial array commanders killed were identified by the IDF as Moethe Abdel Rahman, responsible for training; Othman Hamdan, commander of air defenses in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood; Muhammad Alrifi, responsible for the unit’s supplies in Gaza City; and Ghassan Shakfouh, responsible for the unit’s training in northern Gaza.
According to the IDF over 400 terrorist targets had been hit in the past 24 hours, including on Monday night the elimination of the deputy commanders of Hamas’s Nuseirat, Shati and Furqan battalions.
“Dozens” of Hamas gunmen preparing to fire rockets and carry out terrorist attacks were also killed, according to the military.
IDF fighter jets also struck terrorist infrastructure in the neighborhoods of Shuja’iyya, Shati, Jabalia, Daraj Tuffah and Zaytun, including a tunnel shaft that gave terrorists access to the coastline, command centers and staging grounds located in mosques.
The IDF struck Hezbollah targets on Monday night in response to rocket and anti-tank missile launches from Lebanese territory by the Iran-backed terrorist group.
A military compound, military post and observation post were among the targets hit, according to the IDF.
IDF chief of staff: ‘Well prepared‘ for a ground invasion
IDF Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi told commanders of the 146th Division on Monday that the army is “well prepared” for a ground operation to destroy Hamas in Gaza.
“We want to bring Hamas to a state of full dismantlement—its leaders, its military branch, and its working mechanisms. That is why we are striking and eliminating high-ranking commanders and members, destroying infrastructure, and acting with great determination,” said Halevi.
“The path is a path of unrelenting attacks, damaging Hamas everywhere and in every way. We are well prepared for the ground operations in the south. The Southern Command has quality operational plans,” he said.
“There are tactical, operative, strategic considerations that have provided additional time, and troops who have more time are better prepared, and that is what we are doing now,” he added.
Another Biden and Netanyahu phone consultation
U.S. President Joe Biden spoke again by phone on Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that he “welcomed the release of two additional hostages from Gaza earlier today,” according to the White House.
The president also “reaffirmed his commitment to ongoing efforts to secure the release of all the remaining hostages taken by Hamas, including Americans, and to provide for safe passage for U.S. citizens and other civilians in Gaza.”
Biden “underscored” the need to sustain a continuous flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza.
“The president updated the prime minister on U.S. support for Israel and ongoing efforts at regional deterrence, to include new U.S. military deployments. They agreed to speak again in the coming days.”
U.S. warns against Gaza ceasefire
U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters on Monday that any Gaza ceasefire would benefit Hamas, giving the terrorist organization “the ability to rest, to refit, and to get ready to continue launching terrorist attacks against Israel.”
The comments come against the backdrop of the European Union considering calling for a “humanitarian pause” in the war between Israel and Hamas terrorists in Gaza.