Report: Israel Targets Central Gaza; Last Hamas Stronghold, Rocket Site

An Israeli tank rolls along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip on May 6, 2016 as

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced Tuesday that it had begun fighting in the central Gaza Strip, one of the last major Hamas strongholds, and the source of much of the remaining rocket fire that terrorists have managed to launch from at Israeli civilians.

In the first stage of the ground invasion, which began in late October, the IDF focused on the northern Gaza Strip, and urged Palestinian civilians to move south of the Wadi Gaza river, south of Gaza City. After Hamas broke a week-long truce on December 1, the IDF moved into southern Gaza — much to the apparent surprise of Hamas, since the U.S. had publicly urged Israel not to do so. At that point, as Breitbart News noted, Israel began dividing the Gaza Strip into three parts — northern, southern, and central.

Fighting remains intense in the south, particularly in the city of Khan Yunis. But according to social media reports, the IDF has begun carving out roads from southern into central Gaza, and Israeli officials announced they were targeting the central area.

The Times of Israel reported:

The IDF is further expanding its operations in the central Gaza Strip, with the 36th Division moving away from the Gaza City area and striking Hamas’s al-Bureij battalion.

“The battalions of the central camps are currently facing the strength of the IDF. They will cease to function as other battalions have ceased to function,” says the commander of the 36th Division, Brig. Gen. Dado Bar Kalifa.

The four Hamas battalions in central Gaza — al-Bureij, Deir al-Balah, Maghazi and Nuseirat — have all sustained some damage in Israeli strikes, but are believed to be largely functioning. The commander of the central camps brigade, Ayman Nofel, was killed in an Israeli strike last month.

Separately, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi toured the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, according to the Jerusalem Post, and said that Israel was close to defeating Hamas completely in the northern Gaza Strip.

He warned, however, that the war itself would take several more months.

The Times of Israel noted that Israel has begun clearing an area one kilometer wide near Gaza’s border with Israel to create a buffer zone that would give residents of southern Israel who were attacked on October 7 greater security.

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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