IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi with the director of Israel’s Shin Bet security Ronen Bar (Photo: IDF)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi and the director of Israel’s Shin Bet security Ronen Bar toured the Hamas tunnel network under Khan Younis in southern Gaza on Friday. Israel Defense Forces believe that Yahya Sinwar, the chief of Hamas in Gaza, is hiding in Khan Younis, together with other Hamas leaders, according to a statement on Saturday.
Halevi and Bar were accompanied by the head of the IDF Southern Command, Maj.-Gen. Yaron Finkelman, Military Intelligence Directorate head Maj.-Gen. Aharon Haliva and the commander of the 98th Division, Brig.-Gen. Dan Goldfus.
“You have a great advantage over those who fight against you. There is no place anywhere in the Gaza Strip where there is a force at your level,” Halevi told the troops belonging to the seven IDF brigades stationed in Khan Younis.
Israeli forces destroyed a weapons storage facility containing dozens of Kalashnikov rifles, explosive devices, RPGs, and more than 100 ammunition cartridges in Khan Younis, the IDF announced. Many terrorists were also eliminated in southern Gaza on Friday and several tunnel shafts were uncovered and demolished.
On Saturday, IDF Spokesman Brig-Gen. Daniel Hagari made public a new photo of Mohammed Deif, the Hamas military chief who reportedly planned Hamas’ gruesome Oct. 7 massacre of Israeli border communities together with Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.
A photo of Deif was found on a computer that was seized in Gaza and showed the terrorist leader holding a plastic cup of juice and a stack of American dollars. He seemed to be in better condition than what was reported, despite the IDF’s multiple attempts at eliminating him.
According to recent intelligence information, Deif is functioning well and only has a slight limp and damage to his eye. Israel has downloaded more than 70 million intelligence files from computers seized in Gaza.
Hagari also said the IDF had defeated Hamas’ military operations in northern Gaza.
“Hamas’s military framework in the northern Gaza Strip has been completely dismantled,” Hagari said, adding that the IDF had confiscated thousands of weapons and millions of documents. The IDF has eliminated approximately 8,000 terrorists in the northern area, according to the IDF and the focus is now turned to other parts of the Gaza Strip.
“We are now focused on dismantling Hamas in the center of and south of the (Gaza) strip,” Hagari said during an online briefing, where he discussed the IDF’s top goals in Gaza, which include eliminating all Hamas commanders, fighting the terrorist operatives with IDF ground troops supported from the air, locating and destroying rockets, along with their production sites, and destroying the underground infrastructure. According to Hagari, 40,000 rockets have been destroyed since the beginning of the war.
“The killing of the commanders made it difficult for the terrorists to fight,” Hagari said. “The fight against terrorism is complex, and it exacts heavy prices. We learn from every incident and try to reduce the number of casualties. We rescued hundreds of wounded, thanks to which their lives were saved.”
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