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‘Israel going for the absolute elimination of Hamas’

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant confirms the military is operating in new areas in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli troops operating in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Dec. 2, 2023. Credit: IDF.
Israeli troops operating in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Dec. 2, 2023. Credit: IDF.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated on Saturday night that the military is operating in new areas of the Gaza Strip, adding that Jerusalem’s war objective to fully dismantle Hamas remains unaltered. 

“In the last two days, we are operating in areas we have not been active in over the last month, and it will increase and intensify,” said Gallant. “This operation will reach every point that needs to be reached. We are going for the absolute elimination of the Hamas terror organization.

“We are going until we defeat them, dismantle their military capabilities and break their governing ability, and we will need to do this by adapting to the new conditions of the terrain we are fighting in. There will be intense and precise fire,” continued the minister.

Gallant said that the IDF’s offensive in northern Gaza has produced “very good achievements in the first month,” adding that Hamas battalion commanders across the entire Strip “already know very well what the IDF can do.”

Several Hamas battalion commanders in northern Gaza have been killed by Israeli airstrikes.

Earlier Saturday, the IDF announced that it had struck more than 400 terror targets throughout Gaza since the war resumed the previous morning, when Hamas violated a week-long ceasefire agreement by firing rockets at Israel. 

In a focused operation overnight Friday, Israeli Air Force fighter jets hit more than 50 targets in the Khan Yunis region of southern Gaza.

Additionally, IDF ground troops were active in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza, employing tank fire and directing aerial strikes against terrorists and Hamas infrastructure. 

The northern Gaza Strip saw targeted artillery fire and aerial strikes. An IAF aircraft struck a mosque used as an operational command center by Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The Israeli Navy conducted targeted activities in the Khan Yunis marina, striking Hamas assets with precision munitions. Furthermore, IDF troops thwarted terrorist cells.

The army confirmed on Saturday evening that Col. Assaf Hamami, who commanded the IDF Gaza Division’s Southern Brigade and who had been missing since Hamas’s Oct. 7 invasion, was killed during the Palestinian terror group’s cross-border assault.

The IDF has also renewed activity in the north, responding to enemy attacks by striking Hezbollah targets in Lebanon.

On Saturday, the IDF said aircraft and artillery were striking Hezbollah terrorist infrastructure in Lebanese territory. Later, Hezbollah fired projectiles at Israeli military posts, to which the IDF responded by firing at the source.

Also in the north, an airstrike occurred early Saturday in the Sayda Zaynab area of southern Damascus, with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps subsequently announcing the deaths of two “advisers.”

The Alma Research and Education Center, a defense research organization based in the Upper Galilee, explained in a report: “The Iranian ‘advisers’ in Syria deal with operational, intelligence, training and technology issues. They are part of the operation of the Iranian corridor to Syria and Lebanon, act as intelligence personnel engaged in building the strength of terrorist infrastructures and gathering intelligence against Israel, instruct the militias and the Syrian army in various fields, and serve as experts in the development of weapons in cooperation with the CERS Institute.”

CERS, the Centre d’Études et de Recherches Scientifiques (the Scientific Studies and Research Center), is a Syrian governmental organization for the research, development and production of advanced weapons.

On Friday, the IDF announced that it had taken proactive steps to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza. It began distributing evacuation information and maps to Palestinians and delineating safe zones in southern Gaza to avoid during operations. 

The map was published on the IDF’s Arabic-language website and in a video posted to online social networks. Additionally, the map was published in announcements the military distributed in the Gaza Strip.

The IDF’s efforts have also focused on retrieving and identifying Israeli hostages, with recent operations leading to the confirmation of the deaths of several captives, including Ofir Tzarfati from the Haifa suburb of Kiryat Ata.

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