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IDF Ground Forces Take Over Hamas Stronghold in Northern Gaza

Israeli Air Force jets conduct wide-scale strike on Hamas’s Jabaliya Battalion, killing its commander; Israeli Defense Forces Southern Commander: ‘We will fight in alleys; we will fight in tunnels.’

Israel Defense Forces operate in the Gaza Strip, October, 2023. (Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

Israel Defense Forces’ ground forces made significant gains in northern Gaza on Tuesday, Oct. 31, as Israeli Air Force fighter jets, acting on Shin Bet intelligence, launched a large-scale strike on Hamas’s Jabaliya Battalion and killed its commander, along with a large number of other terrorists, the military stated.

IDF troops commanded by the Givati Brigade operated in a Hamas military stronghold in the northern Gaza Strip and killed approximately 50 terrorists, while in parallel, ground troops in Gaza are continuing counterterrorism activities, the IDF said.

The military stronghold is located in western Jabaliya and was used by the Commander of Hamas’s Jabaliya Battalion for training and the execution of terror activities. The area contains firing positions; terror tunnels used by terror operatives as a passageway to the coast; and a large stock of weapons used by the terrorists.

“During the activity in the military stronghold, the soldiers killed a number of terrorists in the course of combat, and an IDF aircraft killed additional terrorists. The forces in the area destroyed entrances to terror tunnels, weapons and military equipment. In addition, the soldiers located intelligence documents in the compound. At the end of the activity, the forces secured the compound,” said the IDF.

The Hamas battalion commander, Ibrahim Biari, killed in airstrikes, was one of the leaders responsible for sending special Hamas Nukhba terrorist operatives into Israel to carry out the murderous terror attacks throughout southern Israel on Oct. 7. “Numerous Hamas terrorists were hit in the strike,” the IDF said.

Biari was also responsible for sending the terrorists who carried out the 2004 terrorist attack in the Ashdod Port in which 13 Israelis were murdered. He was responsible for directing rocket fire at Israel and advancing numerous attacks against the IDF over the last two decades, according to the military.

“His elimination was carried out as part of a wide-scale strike on terrorists and terror infrastructure belonging to the Central Jabaliya Battalion, which had taken control over civilian buildings in Gaza City. The strike damaged Hamas’s command-and-control in the area, as well as its ability to direct military activity against IDF soldiers operating throughout the Gaza strike,” it stated.

Israeli soldiers evacuating a wounded comrade during the intense fighting this past week in Gaza.

“As a result of the strike, a large number of terrorists who were with Biari were killed. Underground terror infrastructure embedded beneath the buildings, used by the terrorists, also collapsed after the strike,” said the military. The IDF reiterated its call to the residents of the area to move south for their safety.

Combined forces led by IDF ground troops struck a Hamas terrorist position in the northern Gaza Strip as well on Tuesday. In addition, the forces killed dozens of terrorists; struck anti-tank missile launching cells, and anti-tank missile launch and observation posts; and confiscated numerous weapons, including guns and explosive devices.

On Tuesday evening, IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Hagari stated: “This is complex combat. Some of it is face-to-face. We lost soldiers in the battles.”

Hamas continues to use civilians in Gaza as human shields, and Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar stands “not only behind the massacre of Israeli civilians on October 7 but also of the collapse of Gaza,” said Hagari. “We will continue to act strongly in northern Gaza and Gaza City.”

The Arrow 2 intercepted a surface-to-surface missile fired by the Houthis in Yemen and two other targets on Tuesday.

Hagari said that all interceptions occurred outside of Israel, adding that “we expanded the presence of the Israeli Navy in the arena as well.”

“There are many elements acting as Iranian proxies trying to challenge us, we will stay focused on Gaza,” he said. “We will know how to respond in the time and place of our choosing.”

 

‘We Will Need Resilience And Patience’

On Tuesday morning, Hagari stated that “in the coming weeks, we will need resilience and patience. I am sure of our ability to find these, as we have done in the past.”

He added that ground forces in Gaza continued to move forward in the offensive. In coordinated air and ground strikes, large numbers of terrorists were killed and hundreds of Hamas targets were struck overnight on Tuesday.

“Over the last day, combined IDF combat forces struck approximately 300 targets, including anti-tank missile and rocket launch posts below shafts, as well as military compounds inside underground tunnels belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization,” the IDF stated.

During the ground operations, Israeli soldiers had several engagements with terrorists and strove to engage them, Hagari said.

The IDF killed the battalion commander of Beit Lahiya, in northern Gaza, as part of a series of strikes on field commanders that disrupted Hamas’s fighting abilities, said Hagari. “From his sector, the murderous October 7 attacks originated on Kibbutz Erez and the Nativ HaAsara village,” he added.

“We are intensifying efforts to kill terrorists. Our ground offensive will continue and intensify in line with the organized plans,” he said.

Also on Tuesday, the commanding officer of the IDF Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman, told soldiers taking part in the ground offensive: “We will fight in alleys; we will fight in tunnels; we will fight wherever necessary.”

He added, “We will eliminate the abominable enemy before whom we stand. My brothers in arms, the residents of Be’eri, Sderot, Nir Oz, Kfar Aza and the West Negev Communities, and alongside them, are all the people of Israel—they are all looking at us now. Like me, they trust you and believe in you; you are the generation of victory. This is the commander: Complete your mission, strike the enemy, over and out.”

In the north, Israeli Air Force jets struck Hezbollah infrastructure overnight in Southern Lebanon, Hagari said on Tuesday, adding that every cell attempting to fire on or infiltrate Israel will be eliminated.

The commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force is on the ground in Lebanon as clashes between Hezbollah and Israel continue, Amwaj.media, a website based in the United Kingdom, said on Tuesday.

It cited multiple sources as stating that Quds Force Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani arrived in Beirut on Oct. 8, left for consultations on Oct. 16 and then returned on Oct. 20, where he has remained in Lebanon ever since.

“The focus of his mission, informed sources say, is to help coordinate a possible broader confrontation with Israel,” said the report.

“Following his recent return to Lebanon, Ghaani has met with Palestinian leaders as well as the leadership of the Lebanese Hezbollah Movement, conveying messages from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Yet as one senior security source told Amwaj.media, the person who is ‘really calling the shots’ is Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah,” the report stated.

 

‘Determined, Despite the Pain, to Win’

Meanwhile, in response to anti-tank missile fire from Lebanon on Tuesday, the IDF struck Hezbollah’s infrastructure. Hezbollah resumed anti-tank missile fire at northern Israel during the day, as well as mortar launches, prompting further IDF response fire.

“In recent weeks, thousands of Lebanese have left and are continuing to leave Southern Lebanon of their own initiative out of fear that Hezbollah will bring war on them. In the Shi’ite villages of Southern Lebanon, funerals are being held of Shi’ites sent by Nasrallah for the defense of ISIS—Hamas in Gaza,” said Hagari. “There are many voices in Lebanon asking why is he endangering Lebanon? Why when in the past Hezbollah fought ISIS in Syria and other places, today it is bringing ISIS into Lebanon?”

The official number of hostages has gone up to 240, Hagari said, adding that some are foreign citizens, making the identification process more complicated. “We will make every effort and exploit every opportunity to bring them home,” he said. The IDF had notified 317 families of fallen soldiers by Tuesday evening.

Also on Tuesday, Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel’s national security adviser and national security council director, stated, “The operational goal that was defined for the IDF is unequivocal: to destroy the military and governing capabilities of Hamas and Islamic Jihad so that there will no longer be a threat to the citizens of Israel from the Gaza Strip.”

“The first stage—blocking and clearing terrorists from the south—is behind us.
The second stage began immediately afterward. This is the stage of powerful and precise strikes against all enemy networks, including a high-quality intelligence base, from land, sea and air. The stage being currently carried out is that of ground activity being conducted in the northern Gaza Strip,” he added. “This is a difficult campaign that entails fierce combat. There is no combat without a painful price. We are a people that fights amidst the pain. We are determined, despite the pain, to win.”

The additional supreme goal is to create the conditions for bringing the hostages back to their homes and their families, Hanegbi said. “As was revealed yesterday, the military effort serves both the effort to bring back the hostages, as well as the aspiration to destroy the enemy’s military and governing capabilities.”

In the northern sector, the decision is to be prepared for all developments, including carrying out a strong defense by a large-scale mobilization of reserves that are already deployed on the Lebanese border; evacuating civilians from the line of defense in order to ensure that their well-being is being safeguarded in the event of a head-on clash with Hezbollah; and attacking enemy networks in response to his provocations everywhere and without hesitation, explained Hanegbi.

“All of the terms of the past are gone and have dissipated,” he said. “There are no more ‘rounds,’ ‘operations’ or other amorphous terms such as ‘strengthening deterrence,’ ‘exacting a price’ or ‘etching in their consciousness.’ The massacre of October 7 dissolved the illusions that we are facing an enemy that would not dare to risk his absolute destruction.

“As soon as the fact became clear—that Hamas is like ISIS, it has no constraints and views the residents of Gaza as nothing more than human dust that provides it with cover—there was no more doubt in our hearts,” he stated. “Hamas, with its psychopathic leadership and its sadistic murderers, must cease to be. This was the unanimous decision of the Cabinet and this is the mission that the IDF has been tasked with carrying out.”

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