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Israeli forces battle Hamas’s Daraj Tuffah Battalion in Gaza City

IDF chief approves operation plans for the northern front, warns Northern Command to be ready • Three more Israeli troops slain in Gaza.

Israeli troops operating in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Dec. 28, 2023. Credit: IDF.
Israeli troops operating in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Dec. 28, 2023. Credit: IDF.

Israeli ground, aerial and naval forces continued operations across the Gaza Strip as the war against the Hamas terror group entered its 83rd day on Thursday.

Israeli forces have been active in recent days in the Daraj and Tuffah districts of Gaza City, battling the Daraj Tuffah Battalion of Hamas’ Gaza City Brigade.

In late October, Israeli fighter jets struck three of the battalion’s senior operatives: Battalion Commander Rifat Abbas; Battalion Deputy Commander Ibrahim Jadba; and Combat Support Commander Tarek Maarouf.

Hamas’s Gaza City Brigade is the terrorist group’s most important brigade, and its operatives played a significant role in the Oct. 7 massacre, according to the Israeli military.

During the previous 24 hours, naval forces continued to assist ground troops maneuvering in the Gaza Strip with fire from the sea.

Three soldiers slain in Gaza

The IDF released for publication on Thursday morning the names of three more soldiers killed in action in the Gaza Strip, bringing the military death toll since the start of ground operations on Oct. 27 to 167 and the overall number of military personnel killed since the start of the war on Oct. 7 to 501.

Sgt. First Class (res.) Asaf Pinhas Tubul, 22, from Kiryat Motzkin, fell in battle in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday.

Cpt. (res.) Neriya Zisk, 24, from Masu’ot Itzhak, and Maj. Dvir David Fima, 32, from Kfar Yona, were killed in battle in central Gaza on Wednesday.

IDF chief to Northern Command: Be ready

On Wednesday, Israel Defense Forces’ Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi approved operational plans at the military’s Northern Command, which has responsibility for the Lebanese border, and warned of the need to “be ready to attack if required.”

“Our first task is to return residents securely, and it will take time. We approved today a variety of plans for continuation, and we need to be ready to attack, if required. The IDF and within it, the Northern Command, are at very high readiness. So far, the campaign is [being] managed correctly and meticulously, and it should continue as such. We will not return the residents without security and a sense of security,” said Halevi.

IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari stated on Wednesday that in the north, the military has been responding to and thwarting Hezbollah attacks and destroying the terror group’s infrastructure along the Israeli-Lebanese border.

He added that more than 150 terrorists have been killed by the IDF in Lebanon since Oct. 8, when the Iranian-backed terror army began firing on Israel, and that 129 of these were Hezbollah members.

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