Israel said on Monday that Hamas is nearing the breaking point in northern Gaza as Israeli forces surround its last two strongholds there and kill local leaders.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant claimed that the IDF was “on the verge of dismantling” the remaining Palestinian terrorist strongholds in Jabalia and Shujaiya following the mass surrender in the area. CNN reports.
“We are approaching the breaking point in the northern Gaza Strip,” Gallant said. “Anyone who prefers to surrender, as hundreds have already done – we will save their lives.”
Gallant’s statements come a day after the Israeli army confirmed the killing of Imad Kirikai, the commander of the Hamas-affiliated Shujaiya Brigade.
Krikai is believed to be the commander behind anti-tank missile training in Gaza City, and allegedly participated in the rocket launches and raids carried out against Israel on October 7.
The Hamas official’s rule did not last long. He was killed by Israeli forces, as was his predecessor, who was listed last week among dozens of other commanders, including the commander in Jabalia, who have been killed in Gaza since the war began.
In addition to killing half of the 24 Hamas brigade leaders, the Israeli army said it arrested 500 Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists over the past month. About 140 men were detained just over a week ago when the temporary ceasefire agreement collapsed.
The Israeli army indicated that some members “were arrested while hiding in civilian buildings, schools, and shelters.”
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The IDF said members of the terrorist group have since been transferred to the Israeli Security Agency and Unit 504 for further interrogation.
These details came days after about 100 Palestinian soldiers, many wearing their underwear, were filmed surrendering to the Israeli army in Jabalia and Shujaiya.
US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller described the images of semi-naked men as “deeply disturbing” during a press conference on Monday, adding that America was investigating why such images were published in the first place.
Gallant claimed that many of the fighters who surrendered themselves to the Israeli army were suffering from a lack of food and weapons, as a large part of northern Gaza has been suffering from a lack of resources since the outbreak of the war.
There remains a great deal of concern about the fighting in Jabalia, which contains one of the largest refugee camps in northern Gaza. Dozens of casualties have been reported in the camp in recent days, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.
As the war continues in northern and southern Gaza, Israel is also facing a conflict along its northern border with Lebanon, where it exchanged rocket fire with Hezbollah fighters on Monday.
The Israeli army said in a statement: “In response to firing from Lebanon towards towns in the Western Galilee earlier today, Israeli army fighter jets bombed a Hezbollah military site.”
Hezbollah confirmed the attack and that it had been subjected to a “direct hit” from Israel, but indicated that the movement would continue to fight in support of Gaza.
The group then fired several anti-tank missiles at homes along Metulla in northern Israel. Hezbollah claimed that the bombing was in retaliation for the killing of a Lebanese mayor in a previous Israeli army air strike.
Miller noted that the United States is also seeking answers about the fighting in Lebanon after allegations that Israel used white phosphorus missiles in one of the strikes.
Although not prohibited under international law, incendiary rockets are subject to strict control, with Israel facing severe criticism after launching such rockets into the densely populated Gaza Strip in 2008.
“Any time we provide material like white phosphorus or anything else to another military, we do so with the expectation that it will be used for legitimate purposes and fully consistent with humanitarian law and the law of armed conflict,” Miller said.
As Israel battles Iranian-backed terrorist groups, Ukraine’s ambassador to the Jewish state claimed that Ukraine’s war and the war between Israel and Hamas were actually part of a much larger global struggle between good and evil.
Ukrainian Ambassador Yevgen Korneichuk said in a statement after a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin, “Israel and Ukraine are now at the forefront of the free global war against the axis of evil led by Russia and Iran.”
Kornechuk urged Netanyahu not to ally with Russia, calling Putin a hypocrite for expressing concerns about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza after the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.
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