Israeli soldiers have entered Gaza City after completing the encirclement of the urban area that is home to the main force of the Palestinian Hamas movement, but they will now face a host of challenges while fighting in the densely populated city.
Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said that after encircling Gaza City, naval ships and aircraft are now helping infantry and armored vehicles strike command and control centers, rocket launch sites and other Hamas infrastructure.
Hajjari said combat engineers are also working to “destruct and neutralize” explosives and other hazards to allow troops to move more freely in the area.
He said in a press conference: “Our forces kill terrorists in close combat. In any place that requires fighting, even if it is difficult, the Israeli army and its soldiers have the upper hand.” Press Conference Thursday.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevy said earlier Thursday in a statement the television He added that Israeli forces were operating in the heart of Gaza City and fighting “face-to-face battles.”
He added, “These forces are fighting in a narrow urban area.” “It takes professional fighting and a lot of courage.”
The incursion into Gaza City comes hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared with soldiers and said that his forces are on the outskirts of Gaza City and are ready “for progress and victory.”
“Nothing will stop us” Netanyahu wrote on Xthe social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
The Israeli incursion into Gaza City, less than a week after Netanyahu announced a “second phase” of the war and expanded ground operations in Gaza, marks what is expected to be the beginning of a brutal campaign of fighting.
Soldiers will have to fight house-to-house in some cases and enter the vast network of booby-trapped tunnels beneath the city if they want to completely destroy Hamas, which is Israel’s stated goal.
At least 18 Israeli soldiers have already been killed, according to the Israeli military.
But Israel is committed to eliminating Hamas, which launched a deadly attack on October 7 in southern Israel, killing more than 1,400 people and taking more than 200 hostage.
The Israeli military campaign has already killed about 9,000 Palestinians in intense air strikes, but a prolonged ground invasion is expected to cause many more casualties.
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