'Terrorists in every home, school in Khan Younis,' IDF commander says

Military says objective in fight is reaching Hamas leaders hiding underground; IDF prioritizing safety of troops amid challenges in Strip's second largest city, after questions over operational successes


IDF forces operate in the Khan Younis region
(Video: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

For years, the IDF has refrained from entering Khan Younis, but now, despite public perceptions of "delay" or "sluggishness" in the complex city in the southern Gaza Strip, the military claims some operational achievements were accomplished in the Strip's second largest city.
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According to the military the mission in southern Gaza is significantly different from that in the north, focusing on reaching the Hamas terrorist leaders, hiding deep underground. Therefore, they say, the task is slower, with the safety of soldiers taking priority over speed.
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פעילות כוחות צה"ל ברצועת עזה
פעילות כוחות צה"ל ברצועת עזה
IDF forces in Khan Younis
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
As part of the activity in the area, reservists from the 4th Brigade secured the Kissufim route leading to Khan Younis while securing the road leading from the north to south of the Gaza Strip. The brigade operates against the northern battalion of Khan Younis and simultaneously against the Gaza brigade, preparing the area for the creation of a buffer zone between the central and southern Israeli settlements in the Gaza border region after the war.
According to the IDF, the brigade identifies combat means or Hamas terrorists in any house in the area including schools where terrorists tend to hide. The brigade also developed a way to expose hidden tunnels.
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מסוק חיל האוויר
מסוק חיל האוויר
Israeli Air Force helicopter
(Photo: EPA/Abir Sultan)
Meanwhile, the 55th Brigade in the reserves secures the evacuation and logistics routes from Khan Younis after moving to the city center in a swift operation lasting 12 hours. Forces from the regular Paratroopers Brigade surprised Hamas with a rapid rearward deployment. Forces in the field emphasize that cooperation with the Israeli Air Force is continuous and precise, alongside a more selective and efficient use of tank shells to avoid civilian casualties and any wasting of ammunition but firing tank shells against any identified threat - without limitations.
The IDF also said that most of the intelligence for the forces was gathered by the troops themselves from clashes with Hamas terrorists, some of whome were reinforced by the Deir al-Balah Brigade, a northern Khan Yunis brigade - an area the IDF has not yet fully secured. IDF units operating in Khan Yunis admitted that they were surprised by the extent and capability of Hamas, as the IDF had avoided entering the city for years.
55th Brigade, Col. Oded Ziman added: "The brigade launched an attack on the strongholds in Khan Younis where the enemy was entrenched, eliminating many terrorists, striking terror infrastructure both underground and above ground, and capturing terrorists who provided crucial intelligence in interrogations. The collaboration between the Israeli Air Force and ground forces is exceptional; I have never dreamed of such effective and rapid cooperation. Just this morning, I needed fire, and within two minutes, a colleague from the Military Intelligence Directorate contacted me, and we launched the airstrike."
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