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Israeli forces seize Hamas’s strategic Gaza City stronghold

Long-range rocket launchers destroyed next to UNRWA school in central Gaza • Intelligence material found linking mosque to Oct. 7 massacre.

Israeli troops operating in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Dec. 31, 2023. Credit: IDF.
Israeli troops operating in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Dec. 31, 2023. Credit: IDF.

Israeli forces took control of a Hamas stronghold in Gaza City, including more than 30 buildings, underground bunkers and tunnels located near civilian homes, schools and hospitals, the Israel Defense Forces said on Tuesday.

Hamas’s Eastern Military Post in Gaza City included 37 buildings featuring operational command and control rooms, the IDF said.

The underground complex found by soldiers was 20 meters deep. It included large operational rooms and hideouts for Hamas leaders. Soldiers also discovered many weapons and communication devices.

In addition, five interconnected tunnel shafts were discovered. In one of the shafts, commandoes from the Israeli Air Force’s elite Shaldag Unit killed Hamas terrorists in close-quarter combat.

Combat engineers destroyed the entire tunnel route.

Above ground, Israeli forces identified one specific building in the stronghold for a targeted raid, during which terrorists fired on them from the upper floors. The Israelis returned fire while evacuating wounded comrades. The terrorist squad was eliminated in close-quarter combat.

Three Israeli soldiers were killed during the operation: Capt. Yaron Eliezer Chitiz, Staff Sgt. Efraim Tachman and Staff Sgt. Itay Buton.

Dozens of Gaza terrorists killed as ground op expands south

Israeli forces killed dozens of terrorists in Jabalia and destroyed explosives planted on beaches during activities over the past 24 hours in the Gaza Strip, the IDF said on Tuesday morning.

In a combined land, air and sea campaign, Hamas operatives who placed explosive devices along the Gaza coastline and in nearby buildings were killed and the incendiary devices placed to harm troops were demolished.

Among the terrorists slain in Jabalia in northern Gaza were drone operators and armed individuals driving vehicles towards Israeli forces.

Additionally, in the Bureij camp in the central Strip, IDF troops located several rocket launchers positioned adjacent to an UNRWA school. A weapons production facility, launch pits and long-range rocket launchers were also located in central Gaza. IDF engineers dismantled the launchers.

While operating in southern Gaza City, troops identified three terrorists entering a compound and directed an IAF fighter jet to strike the building. Following the hit, secondary explosions were observed, indicating that large quantities of weapons were stored inside the compound.

Also, forces continued to target Khan Yunis in the south of the Strip, conducting a targeted raid on an operational compound where weapons were stored and terrorist activities were directed. During the searches, many weapons were located.

IDF connects Gaza mosque to Oct. 7 massacre

Israeli forces found intelligence material linking the Daraj Tuffah Mosque with the Oct. 7 massacre during a targeted raid on the residence of the commander of Hamas’s Gaza Brigade on Monday night, the IDF said on Tuesday.

Troops from the IDF’s 460th Brigade—the Armored Corps’ training formation—secured the home, killing dozens of terrorists in close-quarter combat and allowing for the entry of special forces who searched the area.

In addition to the intelligence material, tunnel shafts were discovered and destroyed and many weapons were located.

“The brigade has been operating for two months in the Gaza Strip, during which the forces have killed hundreds of terrorists and destroyed significant terrorist infrastructure. The soldiers of the brigade were determined and operated with courage,” said Col. Dvir Edri, commander of the 460th Brigade.

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