A Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist who participated in the Oct. 7 massacre of civilians at Kibbutz Nir Oz was one of dozens of terrorists Israeli forces killed across the Gaza Strip over the past 24 hours, the IDF said on Tuesday morning.
An Israeli fighter jet guided by intelligence information killed the Islamic Jihad terrorist in Deir al-Balah, the central Gaza Strip. Of Nir Oz‘s 400 residents, approximately one-quarter were killed or kidnapped on Oct. 7.
The Israeli military pressed its offensive against Hamas in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza and in raids in the north and center of the Strip.
Most of the fighting took place in Khan Yunis, Gaza’s second-largest city which is regarded as a personal stronghold of Hamas leader in the Strip Yahya Sinwar.
The 98th Division continued to fight in western Khan Yunis, clearing new areas above and below the ground. Troops encountered armed Hamas terrorists in civilian clothes preparing to attack. Over the last day, Israeli forces killed dozens of terrorists and arrested about 80 terrorism suspects, including several who participated in the Oct. 7 attacks.
Also in Khan Yunis, snipers from the Givati Infantry Brigade killed more than 15 terrorists. Fighters from the 646th Reserve Paratroopers Brigade identified and eliminated a Hamas squad observing soldiers from inside a building. During the raids, the paratroopers and members of the Egoz commando unit located weapons including grenades, Kalashnikov rifles, RPG missiles, explosive charges and cartridges.
In Beit Hanun in northern Gaza, Israeli soldiers called in a combat helicopter to attack four terrorists placing observation devices.
The IDF said that a combat team from the Nahal Infantry Brigade killed many terrorists in raids and ambushes during the last 24 hours. An Israeli Navy missile boat detected a terrorist squad in the area where the combat team was operating. Most of the terrorists were killed in a combination of strikes from drone aircraft, naval vessels and the brigade’s fighters.
Separately, the IDF’s 401st Armored Brigade killed more than 15 terrorists in encounters and, in cooperation with the air force, destroyed a building used by terrorists to shoot at the troops and in which explosive devices were stored.
Around 1,200 people were murdered in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on Oct. 7. One hundred thirty-six men, women and children are believed to still be held captive in Gaza by Hamas, although some are thought to be dead.
Netanyahu vows ‘complete victory’
The IDF’s operation against Hamas in Khan Yunis is “progressing and achieving its goals,” and troops will soon push further south to Rafah, the terrorist group’s last remaining stronghold in the Gaza Strip, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Monday.
“Our forces operate on the ground in most of the territory of the Gaza Strip,” Gallant told reporters at a press conference in Tel Aviv, adding: “Eighteen Hamas battalions are dismantled. … About half of the Hamas terrorists have been killed or seriously wounded.
“The forces are moving with courage and professionalism in the tunnels that were once the safest place for the terrorists, and now we are increasing the pressure on the terrorists and the leaders of the terrorist organizations,” he continued.
Israeli intelligence suggests that Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar is preoccupied with his own survival and no longer commands the terrorist group, said Gallant, adding that the IDF “continues to pursue him.”
One of the masterminds of the Oct. 7 massacre, along with the leader of Hamas’s “military wing” Mohammed Deif, Sinwar is believed to be hiding in southern Gaza, where he has reportedly surrounded themselves with a large number of living Israeli hostages.
“Every terrorist hiding in Rafah should know that his end will be like those in Khan Yunis, Gaza [City] or any other place in the Gaza Strip—surrender or death, there is no third choice,” Gallant warned.
Speaking to soldiers at the IDF Armored Corps Memorial Site and Museum in Latrun, west of Jerusalem, earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised a “mortal blow against the axis of evil: Iran, Hezbollah, the Houthis, and, of course, Hamas.
“Total victory is essential because it ensures the security of Israel. Total victory is the only way in which we can ensure additional historic peace agreements, which await us,” said the premier.
“One need only to think of what would happen without total victory: The displaced will not return [home], the next massacre will only be a matter of time, and Iran, Hezbollah and others will simply celebrate here and destroy the Middle East,” he continued.
The Israeli government will not end the war “without achieving this goal of total victory, which will restore security to both the south and the north,” Netanyahu vowed.