Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Israeli tanks return to Gaza City: Large-scale raid targets UNRWA HQ used by terrorists

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IDF Merkava Tanks, on April 1, 2024 (Photo: Michael Giladi/ Flash90).

The Israel Air Force (IAF) struck numerous terror targets throughout the Gaza Strip overnight as the military intensified its operations in central Gaza, including a return to Gaza City, with a large-scale raid that began overnight.

On Sunday, IDF Arabic Spokesman Avichay Adraee called on residents of several Gaza City neighborhoods to evacuate toward secure areas near the coast. Residents near the Daraj Tuffah neighborhood and the Old City of Al-Daraj were instructed to evacuate westward. 

“For your safety – you must evacuate immediately to known shelters in the west of Gaza City,” he stated. 

Palestinians reported the arrival of IDF tanks and vehicles in Gaza City overnight, following several strikes in the area. According to reports, Israeli military vehicles entered the neighborhoods of Daraj and Tuffah, Tel al-Hawa, Sabra and parts of the Rimal neighborhood. 

Videos on social media showed residents fleeing parts of Gaza City throughout the night and early this morning, while scattered gunfire could be heard in the background. 

The al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, located in the Zeitoun neighborhood in southern Gaza City, where the IDF had already operated in the earlier stages of the fighting, was also evacuated overnight. 

Arab media reported IDF attacks in the southwest of Gaza City on Monday morning.

Later in the day, the military confirmed that forces of the 99th Division and the Commando Brigade began a new operation in Gaza City’s Tel al-Hawa neighborhood based on intelligence indicating the presence of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad infrastructure and terror operatives.

In its statement, the IDF said soldiers were operating at UNRWA’s headquarters in Gaza City. In previous operations, the forces found Hamas tunnel infrastructure at the UNRWA compound and killed and captured numerous gunmen.

“The Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist organizations continue to systematically operate and carry out terrorist activity from inside civilian infrastructure. The IDF will continue to operate against the terrorist organizations in accordance with international law,” the statement said.

Two ready-to-use launchers aimed at Israeli territory were struck by the IDF in the areas of Khan Younis and Gaza City.

Palestinian sources also reported strikes near Jabaliya and reported that 10 people were killed in the strikes. The IDF later confirmed strikes in that area. 

Soldiers from the 98th Division are continuing operations in the area of Shejaiya, where troops dismantled terrorist infrastructure and eliminated dozens of terrorists during ground and aerial activity, including dozens of operatives who were part of Hamas’ anti-tank missile and rocket units.

On Monday morning, the IDF announced that Captain Jalaa Ibrahem, a platoon commander in the Engineering Corps, was killed while fighting in the southern Gaza Strip. Ibrahem was a member of Israel’s Druze community.

IDF operations continue in the southern town of Rafah near the Egyptian border. According to the military, over the past day, IDF troops and IAF aircraft eliminated more than 30 terrorists around Rafah. The troops also located additional tunnel shafts and confiscated weapons in the area. 

Captain Uriel Mashiach, a commander in the Sabra Battalion of the Givati Brigade, spoke to Hebrew news site Maariv about the situation in the city. 

“We are conducting very intense fighting in a broken neighborhood,” Mashiach told Maariv. “The city of Rafah is empty of civilians and the only ones we see are the terrorists.” 

“We meet an enemy who is exhausted, tired and thirsty,” he noted. “We have full control of the territory and it seems that the enemy is having difficulty conducting fighting.” 

Mashiach said Hamas operatives appear to be without guidance or command. 

“We encounter squads that move alone without the guidance of the command. They conduct themselves on their own, they are tired and exhausted, some see us and surrender and raise their hands, and some carry out suicide attacks.” 

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