Report: IDF Controls Jabaliya; Nears Hamas Leader Sinwar as Talks Begin

GAZA, PALESTINE - 2023/04/14: Yahya Sinwar, head of the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas
ousef Masoud/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has gained full control of the Jabaliya area of Gaza City as of Tuesday, and is closing in on local Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, as negotiations are said to be starting for another hostage exchange, according to media reports.

The Times of Israel reported:

The commander of the 162nd Division, Brig. Gen. Itzik Cohen, says his forces have managed to “break the operational abilities” of Hamas’s northern Gaza City brigade, as troops gain full control of the Jabaliya neighborhood.

“The 162nd Division has operational control in Jabaliya,” Cohen says. “Jabaliya is not the Jabaliya it used to be, we killed hundreds of terrorists in Jabaliya and arrested around 500 suspects in terror activities, some of whom took part in the events of October 7,” he says.

Many Hamas sites, including training grounds, command centers, weapon production plants and tunnels, have been destroyed in Jabaliya, the IDF adds.

The Times added, citing an unsourced report from Israel’s Channel 12, that the IDF has twice come within close contact of Sinwar when Israeli soldiers have entered tunnels in the northern Gaza Strip, and that a ring is closing around him.

Meanwhile, both Hamas and Israel appear to be preparing for another round of hostage negotiations. The Israeli government was under domestic pressure to resume talks in the wake of an accidental shooting of 3 escaped hostages by the IDF — though a probe has revealed that the soldiers who shot the hostages were not briefed about the possibility that they were there, and the sniper who first saw them did not recognize their white flag.

Hamas and fellow Iranian-controlled terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, perhaps sensing a moment of leverage, said that they would not negotiate until there had been a permanent ceasefire. However, the continuing advances of the Israeli military — and its apparent close proximity to Sinwar — may have changed that.

Islamic Jihad released a video of two elderly male hostages on Tuesday — Gadi Mozes, 79, and Elad Katzir, 47, — after Hamas did so earlier in the week. The hostages plead for their release and suggest that they do not have confidence in the Israeli government.

The Times of Israel reports that Israel believes a new deal with Hamas should “include women and the elderly,” which could “amount to 30 to 40 hostages of the 128 still in Gaza.” Netanyahu met with family members of 15 of the hostages on Tuesday.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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