As combat rages in Gaza, Gallant vows Israel will kill Hamas head Sinwar

todayNovember 4, 2023 2

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As the Israel Defense Forces deepened its ground offensive in the Gaza Strip Saturday, engaging in firefights with gunmen inside the enclave while continuing to carry out airstrikes on Hamas targets, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel was “taking apart Hamas battalion after battalion” and would eliminate the terror group’s Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar.

Gallant said Israeli forces were attacking terror targets in Gaza City from both the south and north, and had entered urban areas.

He said “Hamas has no limits,” as Israel saw on October 7 with the terror group’s horrific assault and brutal killings. “The Hamas leadership is responsible. We will get to that leadership,” he vowed. “We will get to [Hamas Gaza chief] Yahya Sinwar and eliminate him. If the residents of Gaza get there ahead of us, that will shorten the war.”

When the war ends, he said, “there will be no more Hamas in Gaza. There will be no more security threat from Gaza on Israel, and Israel will have absolute freedom to take whatever security action it seeks against anyone who raises their head in Gaza [to threaten it].”

The IDF pushed forward with its ground offensive in the northern part of the enclave Saturday, with infantry and tanks encountering numerous attempts by Hamas operatives to come out of tunnels to attack troops.

The forces killed several gunmen and located the tunnels, which would be later destroyed, the IDF said. In one encounter, the IDF said ground forces fought off a group of 15 Hamas operatives, killing several of them, and shelling their observation posts.

The military also continued to carry out airstrikes on terror targets throughout the Strip. It said it struck some 120 targets in the Strip throughout the day, including Hamas compounds and anti-tank launch positions.

The army noted that fighter jets struck a Hamas site on the roof of a building, as well as a tunnel near the building, following intelligence information gathered from the Shin Bet interrogation of a Hamas member.

Hamas said a strike also targeted the family home of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, which was being used by two of his sons. Hamas had no immediate details on damage or casualties. Haniyeh has lived in Qatar for years.

On Saturday evening the military released four additional names of soldiers killed in the fighting. Their deaths bring the toll of slain soldiers since Israel launched its ground operation in the Gaza Strip last week to 28, and 345 since October 7.

Maj. Yehuda Natan Cohen, Master Sgt. Lior Arazi, Staff Sgt. Yonadav Raz Levenstein, killed in the Gaza Strip on November 3, 2023. (Courtesy)

The Associated Press reported that Israeli military strikes killed multiple civilians at a UN shelter and hospital in the main combat zone in northern Gaza. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees said two strikes hit a UN school-turned-shelter just north of Gaza City, killing several people in tents in the schoolyard and women who were baking bread inside the building.

It was not clear how the news agency determined the strike was Israeli. Palestinian rocket misfires have also caused multiple civilian casualties in Gaza.

The IDF did not immediately comment, but generally says it targets Hamas terror infrastructure — a vast network of posts, command centers, weapons caches and tunnels — embedded within the civilian population. The army has urged residents of northern Gaza to move south as it intensifies its activity in the Gaza City area.

An estimated 800,000 Palestinians have fled to the south from Gaza City and other northern areas following repeated Israeli calls to evacuate, but hundreds of thousands remain in the north, including many who left and later returned. Israel is also carrying out some airstrikes in the south.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said Saturday that more than 9,400 Palestinians have been killed since Hamas sparked war with its murderous assault. Hamas figures cannot be independently confirmed, and the terror group has been accused of artificially inflating the death toll. The figures do not differentiate between terror operatives and civilians nor between those killed in Israeli strikes and those killed by the hundreds of rockets fired by terror groups  that have fallen short inside the Strip.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi held an assessment with forces inside the Strip Saturday, the military said. A video released by the IDF showed Halevi meeting with the commander of the 162nd Division, Brig. Gen. Itzik Cohen, and other officers.

Israel declared war with the aim of eradicating Hamas following the terror group’s devastating October 7 onslaught, in which thousands of terrorists stormed through the border and murdered some 1,400 people, mostly civilians killed in their homes and at a music festival, and abducted over 240.

Rocket fire on Eilat

Hamas continued to fire rockets at Israeli Saturday, targeting Sderot and Ashkelon. It also said it launched an Ayyash 250 rocket — believed to have a range of 250 kilometers — at the southernmost city of Eilat.

The military said that the rocket was intercepted by the Arrow air defense system, its second interception since the beginning of the war, after a ballistic missile launched from Yemen at Eilat was downed last week.

Footage from an area north of Eilat showed a trail of smoke, apparently as a result of the interception.

Hamas has launched several Ayyash 250 rockets during the ongoing war, without causing any injuries or damage.

The humanitarian situation

The IDF on Saturday accused the Hamas terror group of attacking Israeli troops working to open up a humanitarian corridor for Palestinians to evacuate from northern Gaza to its south.

On Saturday morning the IDF’s Arabic-language spokesman Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee announced that between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. the Strip’s north-to-south Salah a-Din road would be open for Palestinians to evacuate to southern Gaza.

The IDF said Hamas took advantage of the situation and launched mortars and anti-tank guided missiles at troops working to open up the road for civilians.

It said Hamas did so “in order to prevent [the road’s] opening for the movement of residents of the Gaza Strip.”

No soldiers were hurt in the attack, the IDF said.

Israel has already repeatedly accused Hamas of attempting to prevent Palestinians from evacuating northern Gaza, due to its desire to keep civilians around its centers of activity as human shields.

Israeli leaders have rejected humanitarian ceasefires in the Strip as the Israeli military presses its offensive, and Jerusalem warns that Hamas will abuse any pauses in fighting for its war effort.

Hamas said Saturday it had suspended the evacuation of foreign passport holders to Egypt after Israel refused to allow some wounded Palestinians to be evacuated to Egyptian hospitals, a border official told AFP.

“No foreign passport holder will be able to leave the Gaza Strip until wounded people who need to be evacuated from hospitals in north Gaza are transported through the Rafah crossing” to Egypt, the official said on condition of anonymity.

The official didn’t give any information on the identities of the wounded. A senior Biden administration official said Friday that Hamas tried to sneak its fighters out of the Gaza Strip in ambulances that evacuated dozens of wounded Palestinians to Egypt earlier this week.

Two senior Israeli officials told The Times of Israel that Israeli inspectors examining trucks of aid to Gaza earlier this week uncovered several oxygen concentrators meant to aerate the tunnels operated by terror organizations in Gaza.

IDF troops operating in the Gaza Strip in a picture released November 4, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

In Amman Saturday, Arab leaders decrying the reported deaths of thousands of Palestinian civilians in the Israel-Hamas war pushed for an immediate ceasefire, even as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that such a move would be counterproductive and could encourage more violence by the terror group.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani asserted that “the continued bombing doubles the humanitarian catastrophe in the Strip and complicates securing [hostages’] release.”

Speaking at a briefing to the press Saturday evening, IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari said that the IDF, having shown that Hamas uses Gaza’s Shifa Hospital as a base for terror, will soon show that it does the same at other Gaza hospitals.

The military has said Hamas’s main base of operations is located within and under Shifa Hospital.

The US military, meanwhile, announced that another aircraft carrier strike group has reached the Middle East, the second to be stationed in the region amid the ongoing war in a bid to deter other regional actors, among them Iran and its Lebanon-based proxy Hezbollah, from joining in.

US Central Command said that among the ships sailing with the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower were a pair of guided missile destroyers and a guided missile cruiser.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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