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‘We are in Khan Yunis city center,’ 98th Division commander says

The IDF division, which includes the commando brigade dismantling a Hamas stronghold, will fight "for as long as it takes," said IDF Brig. Gen. Dan Goldfus.

Palestinians at the site of an Israeli air strike in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Dec. 7, 2023. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.
Palestinians at the site of an Israeli air strike in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Dec. 7, 2023. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.

The Israel Defense Forces’s 98th Division, under the command of Brig. Gen. Dan Goldfus,  is engaged in intense combat operations in the Khan Yunis area, a key stronghold of the Hamas terrorist organization, the military said on Friday.

The division eliminated a significant number of terrorists and conducted extensive searches, destroying tunnels and coordinating precise strikes from both the ground and air.

In a move to penetrate Hamas’s defenses, the division’s 7th Brigade initiated operations targeting dozens of anti-aircraft positions and enemy observation points. During its raid on the military post of Hamas’s Deir al-Balah battalion, the Israeli brigade uncovered a cache of weapons and intelligence materials.

The Givati, 55th Brigade and 4th Brigades are executing a coordinated encirclement of the city, conducting operations and raids targeting the battalions of Hamas’s Khan Yunis Brigade. A notable Israeli success was a sustained raid, in which the IDF found a cache of weapons—including rocket and mortar launchers, RPGs, explosives and intelligence materials—in a school, the military said.

The division’s 4th Brigade played a pivotal role in securing a Hamas command post, which was harboring a terrorist cell, inside a mosque. The brigade eliminated the terror cell and thwarted a terror cell’s attempted escape via a tunnel. The IDF eliminated that cell.

Soldiers from the division’s commando brigade have raided Hamas strongholds within Khan Yunis leading to the discovery of weapons, artillery launchers and intelligence materials in the residences of senior Hamas operatives. The brigade is deploying “Iron Sting” munition, a precision-guided mortar launch system, and is directing airstrikes and ground operations.

“We embarked on a rapid, powerful operation of the division,” Goldfus said, in a video distributed by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

“We positioned ourselves in the city center. Within this combat zone, where we are, you can see all this open area, the orchards, the enemy is jumping out at us from the orchards from the tunnels,” he added. “We are working methodically, with precision, moving from tunnel to tunnel, house to house and striking the terrorists as accurately as possible.”

Goldfus noted that reservists have been in the field for 60 days.

“We will fight as long as needed,” he said. “Today happens to be the first day of Chanukah, and we, like the song, are coming to banish darkness—the dark regime of Hamas. We will dismantle it slowly, however long it takes.”

The concerted military efforts by various IDF brigades demonstrate Israel’s commitment to neutralize regional threats posed by the Hamas terrorist organization.

The IDF reported on Friday morning that there was a large-scale engagement in the last 24 hours, in which air, sea and ground forces struck Hamas targets in Gaza. Israel hit about 450 targets. In operations in the Gaza Strip, the IDF engaged in extensive battles with terrorists, focusing on locating and destroying tunnel shafts, weapon caches and other terror infrastructures.

Following initial reports of sirens sounding in northern Israel, the IDF Aerial Defense Array intercepted a suspicious aerial target that crossed into Israel from Lebanon. Alerts of rockets and missiles were activated due to fragments from that interception.

Later on Friday, Israel identified launches from Lebanon toward IDF posts in the area of the border. IDF artillery struck the source of the fire and additional targets in Lebanon.

Overnight on Friday, an IDF drone targeted and struck an armed terrorist cell in Southern Lebanon in the Har Dov area. In response to previous attacks launched towards northern Israel on Thursday,  the IDF also hit multiple targets in Syria.

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