The Israel Defense Forces continued to focus on the Hamas stronghold of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on Monday as Israel’s war against the terrorist group entered its 101st day.
Israeli aircraft killed two terrorists loading weapons onto a truck, also destroying the vehicle and the weapons. Troops also entered a Hamas command center and seized AK-47 rifles, handguns, grenades, rocket-propelled grenades and diving gear belonging to Hamas’s naval forces.
Two weapons storage facilities and Hamas operational infrastructure were struck in a combined ground and aerial attack, according to the IDF. Soldiers also located weapons, explosive devices and ammunition inside a cabinet in a child’s room at the residence of a Hamas terrorist.
In the northern Gaza Strip, Israeli forces killed five terrorists who were attempting to locate weapons in an area where troops were active.
“We do not intend to back down from Khan Yunis or any other place. The military operation takes time. It requires us to be precise, and we tailor it to the threats and the captives in the area. There are no shortcuts here; it takes time and, above all, resilience,” IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said in a press briefing on Sunday evening.
“We are working in collaboration with the ISA [Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet] to eliminate the Hamas leadership. Every day, we evaluate our actions and strive to excel further,” he added.
Approximately 9,000 terrorists have been eliminated in Gaza since the start of the war on Oct. 7, according to the IDF. Among these are two Hamas brigade commanders, 19 battalion commanders and more than 50 company commanders. Some 30,000 targets have been struck in Gaza and over 3,400 sites have been marked as potential threats.
Another approximately 1,000 terrorists were slain inside Israel immediately after the Hamas invasion of Oct. 7. There were an estimated 30,000 terrorists in Gaza before the war began.
Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency also has orders to kill the top leadership of Hamas anywhere in the world. Saleh al-Arouri, deputy chief of Hamas’s political bureau, was killed in an alleged Israeli strike in Beirut on Jan. 2. The Kan public broadcaster reported on Monday that several Hamas officials fled Lebanon to neighboring countries after the assassination, including to Turkey and Syria. The terrorist group’s spokesman, Ghazi Hamad, relocated to Cairo after al-Arouri’s death.
Terrorists in Gaza have fired 9,000 rockets that have crossed into Israeli territory since the mass invasion by Hamas on Oct. 7. On that day, around 3,000 armed terrorists infiltrated the northwestern Negev, murdering some 1,200 people, wounding thousands more and taking 240 hostages back to Gaza. There are believed to be 136 captives still being held in the Strip, some of whom have been killed.
Hamas released a “teaser” video on Sunday showing three of those captives—Noa Argamani, 26, Yossi Sharabi, 53, and Itai Svirsky, 38, along with the words “Tomorrow we will inform you of their fate.”
The video was the first sign of life from the three hostages since Oct. 7. It is not clear when the footage was captured. They are seen introducing themselves and pleading for the Israeli government to do everything possible to ensure their freedom.
Argamani was filmed being taken into Gaza after being abducted from the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im. She is seen screaming, “Don’t kill me! No, no, no,” as she’s taken away on a motorcycle by Hamas terrorists, while her boyfriend, Avi Nathan, is pushed around by gunmen.
A spokesman for the terrorist group claimed on Sunday that many of the hostages were killed in Israeli strikes and that the group has lost track of many of the abductees.
The Hamas statement came on the 100th day of the war, which included a 24-hour rally in Tel Aviv organized by relatives of the hostages. Tens of thousands joined them at “Hostage Square” to demand their release.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday warned that during 2024 the Jewish state would continue to destroy the Hamas terrorist organization and fight to return the hostages.
“One hundred days ago, the Hamas monsters invaded the State of Israel and massacred us. They raped and burned our citizens and took them hostage. We have returned half of them. We are not giving up on anyone,” said Netanyahu ahead of a Cabinet meeting to approve the war budget.
Jerusalem seeks to “conduct the war in the coming year and complete it, including [the goals of] eliminating Hamas, returning our hostages and restoring security and the sense of security in both the north and the south so that the residents can return there,” the premier continued.
“One of the things that has become clear beyond all doubt is that we must conduct this war, and it will still take many months,” stated Netanyahu, adding that the proposed war budget was also laying the foundations for the security of future generations.
As Israel on Sunday marked 100 days since the Oct. 7 massacre, Hamas continued to fire rockets throughout the day, setting off air-raid sirens in Ashdod, Yavne, Kibbutz Sa’ad, Moshav Ben Zakai, Moshav Zimrat and Moshav Shuva. No casualties were reported in the attacks.
The National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi), Israel’s social security administration, on Sunday published comprehensive data on civilian casualties since the start of the war 14 weeks ago.
According to the organization’s most recent data, 779 civilians have been murdered by terrorists since Hamas launched its surprise attacks, including 76 foreign nationals. More than 50,000 civilians have been injured; 102 sustained serious injuries and 171 were moderately wounded.