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Israel Strikes 150 Gaza Terror Targets as Fighting Continues in Khan Yunis

Israeli forces during Gaza ground operations, Jan. 9, 2024. (Credit: IDF)

The Israel Defense Forces struck some 150 targets across the Gaza Strip over the past 24 hours, as ground operations continued in Khan Yunis and Al Maghazi, the IDF said on Wednesday, Jan. 10.

IDF forces uncovered more than 15 tunnel shafts in the Al Maghazi area, and seized rocket launchers, missiles, UAVs and explosive devices during targeted raids on Hamas sites. Israeli troops also destroyed a machine used for manufacturing rockets, according to the military.

During operational activity in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, IDF ground forces directed an air strike that eliminated 10 terrorists. In battles in the area over the last day, dozens of terrorist operatives were killed, the military said.

Elsewhere in Khan Yunis, soldiers directed an air strike on a terrorist attempting to plant an IED along a route used by Israeli forces.

Khan Yunis is Gaza’s second largest city and is regarded as a personal stronghold of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, whose family lives there.

 

Another Soldier Slain in Gaza

The IDF announced on Wednesday morning the death in Gaza of Maj. (res.) Elkana Neulander, a 24-year-old from Efrat.

His death brings the total number of Israeli soldiers killed since the start of ground operations in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 27 to 186; a total of 520 military personnel have died since the war began on Oct. 7.

On Tuesday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told visiting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Israel will “intensify and continue” its military operation in the southern Gaza Strip until the Hamas leadership is found and the more than 120 hostages still held by the terrorist group are returned to the Jewish State.

During their meeting held at the Kirya military headquarters, Gallant also briefed the American diplomat on “changes in combat tactics in the northern area of the Gaza Strip,” according to a Defense Ministry statement.

“We are determined to complete the war goals and strengthen regional stability in the Middle East by dismantling Hamas in the South and changing the security situation in the North,” Gallant added, the latter a reference to the ongoing attacks by Iranian-backed Hezbollah from Lebanon.

In a statement shared with JNS, the IDF confirmed that it was “currently adjusting deployment plans for forces in Gaza and the reserve system. … These adaptations aim to ensure effective planning and preparation for the continuation of operations in 2024. The IDF recognizes the need to plan ahead, anticipating additional tasks and warfare throughout the year.”

Some reservists, including the 551st Reserve Paratrooper Brigade and the 14th Reserve Armored Brigade, will be released from military service this week. In addition, the 828th, 261st and 460th brigades will return to their scheduled training as part of the adjustment in deployment plans.

Forces operating in the Khan Yunis area continue to kill armed terrorists, expose weapon depots and destroy terrorist infrastructure, the IDF said on Tuesday afternoon.

During a raid on the Hamas-controlled Islamic University of Gaza, troops found numerous Kalashnikov assault rifles, ammunition and other terror equipment in classrooms, as well as safes containing terrorist funds.

In the area surrounding the university, soldiers discovered dozens of weapons depots containing more than 100 mortar bombs, explosive devices, grenades and maps used by Hamas operatives.

On Monday, the IDF announced that Israeli forces found the largest weapons manufacturing site discovered since the start of the war, containing rockets capable of reaching north of Tel Aviv.

The weapons plant was part of a massive tunnel system nearly 100 feet underneath the Al-Bureij camp in central Gaza, according to the IDF. The rockets produced in the facility had a range of more than 60 miles.

After almost 24 hours of quiet in southern Israel, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza resumed rocket fire at the border region on Tuesday, setting off air-raid sirens throughout the day in Sderot, Kibbutz Nir Am, Kibbutz Nahal Oz, Kibbutz Alumim and the village of Ibim, said Army Radio.

Earlier this week, Hebrew media reported that Jerusalem knows the exact Gaza location of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, who masterminded the Oct. 7 massacre. Sinwar is believed to be hiding in the southern Hamas stronghold of Khan Yunis.

However, the terror mastermind has surrounded himself with a large number of living hostages, preventing the IDF from carrying out an airstrike on him,
reports said.

 

Hezbollah Attacks IDF Northern Command HQ in Safed

Hezbollah attacked the IDF’s Northern Command headquarters in the Upper Galilee city of Safed with several drones on Tuesday.

The military said that there were no casualties or damage from the attack and that the base was functioning as usual following the attack. However, Hebrew media reported minor infrastructure damage to the base.

In a statement, the terrorist group said it was in response to the alleged Israeli assassinations of Radwan Force commando unit commander Jawad al-Tawil in Southern Lebanon and the killing last week of Hamas terror chief Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut.

The IDF said that artillery fired at the source of the attack.

The Iranian-backed Shi’ite terrorist group on Saturday fired some 40 rockets into Israel in an “initial response” to the al-Arouri assassination.

The salvo triggered rocket alert sirens in 90 communities across northern Israel, although the military said that only the Mount Meron area was targeted.

 

Three Hezbollah Operatives Killed

Three Hezbollah members were killed in a targeted drone strike in Southern Lebanon, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Two sources familiar with the operations of the Iranian terrorist proxy told the news agency that they were killed in an attack on their vehicle in the town of Ghanduriyah, more than 18 miles west of Metula, the northernmost town in Israel.

A separate strike in Southern Lebanon killed Ali Hussein Barji, responsible for dozens of Hezbollah drone infiltrations into northern Israel in recent months, including Tuesday’s attack on the IDF Northern Command base, per local media.

An alleged Israeli attack in Southern Lebanon on Monday killed a senior commander in Hezbollah’s elite Radwan Force. According to unofficial reports from Lebanon, he was al-Tawil and the attack took place in Khirbet Selm.

 

Blinken in Israel Amid Push To Wind Down War

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a private meeting with Blinken at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. Blinken was then scheduled to participate in an expanded War Cabinet meeting to discuss the latest developments in the war and on other fronts.

President Isaac Herzog welcomed Blinken to Israel earlier Tuesday morning. Blinken arrived late on Monday after visiting Turkey, Greece, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. He said he would share what he heard from those countries with Israel’s leadership.

Blinken and Herzog’s meeting, also held in Tel Aviv, was their fifth since the atrocities carried out by Hamas against Israel on Oct. 7.

The US diplomat is in Israel for discussions with Jerusalem on moving the war to a less intensive third phase.

Following the meeting with Herzog, Blinken met with Foreign Minister Israel Katz, who stressed that Israel’s sense of security will only be restored with the defeat of Hamas and the retreat of Hezbollah from the Lebanon-Israel border.

Blinken’s stop in Israel is part of a multi-country Middle East diplomatic swing in an effort by the Biden administration to prevent a wider regional war.

Blinken visited Saudi Arabia before Israel, where Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received him, stressing the importance of stopping the war in Gaza, increasing humanitarian efforts and creating the conditions for security and stability.

During a Monday press briefing, Hagari said that the fighting in Gaza “will continue into 2024.” This comes after IDF Chief of Staff. Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said on Sunday that “we will be at war in Gaza, I don’t know if all year—we will be fighting in Gaza all year, that’s for sure.”

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