newsIsrael at War

IDF hits over 300 targets in Gaza; hundreds of terrorists surrender

IDF Gaza death toll rises to 133 • Islamic Jihad releases hostage video • 1,500 tunnel shafts and underground passages exposed.

Israeli troops operate in the Gaza Strip, Dec. 19, 2023. Credit: IDF.
Israeli troops operate in the Gaza Strip, Dec. 19, 2023. Credit: IDF.

Israeli ground, air and naval forces struck more than 300 targets in the Gaza Strip over the past day, causing heavy Hamas casualties and destroying terror infrastructure, the Israel Defense Forces reported on Wednesday morning.

Paratroopers from the 55th Brigade raided a Hamas “military” headquarters in the terror group’s stronghold of Khan Yunis in the southern Strip, according to the military. During the search, many weapons were found as well as ammunition and explosive charges, including 20 mortar shells.

Also in Khan Yunis, soldiers from the 7th Armored Brigade raided the homes of senior Hamas members, uncovering underground infrastructure, including water and electricity systems.

Moreover, Combat Intelligence Collection Corps soldiers directed an Israeli Air Force aircraft to eliminate an armed terrorist leaving a building carrying a rocket-propelled grenade.

Additionally, an IAF fighter jet destroyed a rocket launching position that was used the previous day to fire at Israeli territory. On Tuesday, a massive rocket barrage was launched at the Tel Aviv area for the first time in a week.

Terrorists have fired more than 12,500 rockets at Israel since the assault on the northwestern Negev on Oct. 7 in which hordes of heavily armed Hamas gunmen stormed the border, killing 1,200 mostly civilians, wounding thousands more and taking around 240 hostages back to Gaza.

Fierce fighting continues in Jabalia

Soldiers from the IDF 162nd Division killed hundreds of terrorists in fierce battles in Jabalia in northern Gaza, the IDF said on Tuesday.

“Jabalia is not the Jabalia it used to be,” said the division’s commander Brig. Gen. Itzik Cohen on Tuesday. “We killed hundreds of terrorists in Jabalia and arrested about 500 terror suspects of terrorist activity, some of whom took part in the events of the seventh of October,” he added.

Israeli forces also destroyed terror infrastructure, including training complexes, underground and command and control complexes, and factories for the production of rockets.

“The fighting of the division’s forces resulted in the dismantling of the military capacity of the northern battalion of Gaza City,” continued Cohen. “Thanks to the maneuver, we are operating in the heart of Gaza City with operational freedom. Division 162 will continue its operations in the Gaza Strip until the mission is completed.”

Furthermore, during activities in the Jabalia area, soldiers from the 933rd “Nahal” Brigade and 551st Paratrooper Brigade combat team destroyed a truck carrying long-range rockets installed by Hamas. The rockets were also destroyed.

Additionally, an IAF craft attacked a building in the Jabalia area, killing terrorists who were hiding inside. Another building was struck from which an anti-tank position was suspected to have fired at IDF vehicles.

Two soldiers killed in action in Gaza

The IDF, during the morning hours of Wednesday, released for publication separately the identities of two more soldiers killed in action in Gaza, bringing the death toll since the start of the ground invasion on Oct. 27 to 133.

Capt. (res.) Lior Sivan, 32, from Beit Shemesh, was slain on Tuesday in the southern Gaza Strip.

Maj. (res.) Uriel Cohen, 33, a tank commander in the Givati Brigade from Tzur Hadassah, also died in the south of the Gaza Strip.

Maj. (res.) Uriel Cohen, 33, a tank commander in the Givati Brigade from Tzur Hadassah. Credit: IDF.

A total of 466 soldiers have died since the start of the war on Oct. 7.

Islamic Jihad releases video of two Israeli hostages

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group on Tuesday released a video of two Israeli hostages, a day after Hamas released a video of three other captives.

The PIJ video shows 79-year-old Gadi Mozes and 47-year-old Elad Katzir pleading for their release. They are unshaven and appear to have lost weight.

“We are dying every moment. We are in an unbearable situation,” says Mozes in the video.

Hamas on Monday published an undated video of three elderly male Israeli hostages kidnapped by the terror group during the Oct. 7 massacre.

The three are identified as Chaim Peri, 79, Amiram Cooper, 84, and Yoram Metzger, 80, all from Kibbutz Nir Oz.

1,500 tunnel shafts, underground passages exposed

Israeli forces have exposed 1,500 tunnel shafts and underground passages since the start of the war, the IDF said on Tuesday.

“Most of these have been found beneath schools, hospitals, mosques, UN facilities and civilian institutions,” according to the military.

Troops have also located hundreds of Hamas tunnels and are continuing to operate against the underground terror network.

IDF refutes claim it killed two women at Gaza church

The IDF is disputing a report that its forces killed two women in the area of a Catholic church in Gaza.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem claimed in a press release on Dec. 16 that an IDF sniper killed two Christian women inside the Holy Family Parish in the Shejaia neighborhood of Gaza City.

An initial IDF review found that on “Dec. 17, in the early afternoon, Hamas terrorists fired a rocket-propelled grenade at IDF troops from the vicinity of the church. The troops then identified three people in the vicinity operating as spotters for Hamas by guiding their attacks in the direction of the IDF troops. In response, our troops fired towards the spotters and hits were identified.”

The statement continued, “While this incident occurred in the area where the two women were reportedly killed, the reports received do not match the conclusion of our initial review, which found that the IDF troops were targeting spotters in enemy lookouts. We are continuing our examination of the incident.”

The IDF said that it takes claims of strikes on “sensitive sites very seriously, especially churches that are the holy sites for the Christian faith.”

In contrast to Hamas, which intentionally puts civilians in harm’s way by exploiting religious sites for terror purposes, the statement concluded, the IDF “directs its operations against the Hamas terrorist organization and not against civilians, regardless of their religious affiliation. The IDF takes many measures to mitigate harm to civilians in the Gaza Strip.”

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