Golani Brigade soldiers, along with tanks from the 188th Armored Brigade and their engineering units, have successfully breached the Hamas battalion in Gaza City's Zeitoun neighborhood, nearing complete control of the area, the IDF reported Monday evening.
This development follows four days after fighting began in the sector, according to the army. Brigade commanders are involved in numerous close-quarters engagements, encountering strong resistance, particularly from the frontline Hamas cells in each neighborhood area.
The IDF noted that in the battles in the Zeitoun neighborhood, "the forces are encountering an enemy entrenched in the heart of residential areas, hospitals, schools and kindergartens, hiding and attacking from within civilian infrastructures.
"The Golani Brigade's task force led the initial fighting in Zeitoun. The soldiers have encountered dozens of terrorists since the beginning of the conflict in the neighborhood, engaging in close-quarters combat with them, and have so far eliminated many of them."
After neutralizing these initial defenses, the forces are making swifter progress against isolated terrorist cells. Notably, many of these terrorists are abandoning their arms, donning civilian attire and attempting to escape.
It was also reported that 188th Brigade soldiers took control of several key targets of Hamas' Zeitoun Battalion, including the office of the Gaza City Brigade commander and the battalion's central command.
"The forces scanned the area, located many combat materials, and following the scans, destroyed the office of the brigade commander. In addition, the forces directed an aerial strike in the Zeitoun neighborhood, leading to the elimination of terrorists. In recent days, the forces discovered a rocket production lab, numerous combat materials, explosives, a tunnel, significant ammunition and even unmanned aerial vehicles inside a mosque in the neighborhood."
Commanders of the 36th Division, to which the forces are subordinated, estimate that securing and clearing the Zeitoun neighborhood of terrorist elements will take an additional 72 hours.
The forces are expected to maintain an eastward trajectory, extending their operations toward parts of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip which are adjacent to the border.
Over the past two days, military forces have uncovered a vast array of combat equipment, including numerous improvised explosive devices (IEDs) created by Hamas. These IEDs are reverse-engineered versions of a model originally used by the IDF and subsequently found in the Gaza Strip. Additionally, brigade units have identified and dismantled hundreds of combat pits and their associated tunnel networks.
Frequently, local terrorist cells, having lost strategic positions due to IDF assaults, have resorted to setting ambushes, guided by the sounds of approaching tanks and armored vehicles. Typically, they engage the armored IDF units, often launching anti-tank missiles from multiple directions.