The Israel Defense Forces struck some 150 targets across the Gaza Strip over the past 24 hours, as ground operations continued in Khan Yunis and Al Maghazi, the IDF said on Wednesday.
IDF forces uncovered more than 15 tunnel shafts in the Al Maghazi area, and seized rocket launchers, missiles, UAVs and explosive devices during targeted raids on Hamas sites. Israeli troops also destroyed a machine used for manufacturing rockets, according to the military.
During operational activity in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, IDF ground forces directed an air strike that eliminated 10 terrorists. In battles in the area over the last day, dozens of terrorist operatives were killed, the military said.
Elsewhere in Khan Yunis, soldiers directed an air strike on a terrorist attempting to plant an IED along a route used by Israeli forces.
Khan Yunis is Gaza’s second largest city and is regarded as a personal stronghold of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, whose family lives there.
At least 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were murdered in Hamas’s Oct. 7 invasion of southern Israel, and some 240 were taken hostage. The number of men, women, children, soldiers and foreigners still being held captive in Gaza by the terrorist group is believed to be 136. Other people remain unaccounted for as Israeli authorities continue to search for and identify human remains.
Another soldier slain in Gaza
The IDF announced on Wednesday morning the death in Gaza of Maj. (res.) Elkana Neulander, a 24-year-old from Efrat.
His death brings the total number of Israeli soldiers killed since the start of ground operations in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 27 to 186; a total of 520 military personnel have died since the war began on Oct. 7.
On Tuesday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told visiting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Israel will “intensify and continue” its military operation in the southern Gaza Strip until the Hamas leadership is found and the more than 120 hostages still held by the terrorist group are returned to the Jewish state.
During their meeting held at the Kirya military headquarters, Gallant also briefed the American diplomat on “changes in combat tactics in the northern area of the Gaza Strip,” according to a Defense Ministry statement.
“We are determined to complete the war goals and strengthen regional stability in the Middle East by dismantling Hamas in the south and changing the security situation in the north,” Gallant added, the latter a reference to the ongoing attacks by Iranian-backed Hezbollah from Lebanon.
The Washington Post on Tuesday cited an anonymous senior U.S. official as saying that Israel has already withdrawn several thousand troops from northern Gaza in “a significant drawdown” from the coastal enclave.
In a statement shared with JNS, the IDF confirmed that it was “currently adjusting deployment plans for forces in Gaza and the reserve system.
“These adaptations aim to ensure effective planning and preparation for the continuation of operations in 2024. The IDF recognizes the need to plan ahead, anticipating additional tasks and warfare throughout the year,” added the army statement.