Thursday, June 20, 2024

Israel soldiers deployed ‘in heart of Gaza City’: Minister

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has claimed that army troops are deployed “in the heart of the Gaza City” amid an ongoing military offensive in the besieged Palestinian territory that has left more than 10,000 Gazans dead.

“IDF forces are in the heart of Gaza City. They came from the north and the south. They stormed it in full coordination between land, air and sea forces,” Gallant said in a televised news conference on Tuesday.

“They are manoeuvring on foot, armoured vehicles and tanks, along with military engineers from all directions and they have one target — Hamas terrorists in Gaza, their infrastructure, their commanders, bunkers, communication rooms. They are tightening the noose around Gaza City,” he stated.

Gallant described Gaza City as “the biggest terrorism base built by man”. He added that below the city there were kilometres (miles) of tunnels that ran under schools and hospitals and that housed weapon depots, communication rooms and hideouts for fighters.

Asked about plans for who would rule Gaza once the war was over, Gallant said: “I can tell you who will not govern (Gaza). It will not be Hamas, and it will not be Israel. Everything else is a possibility.”

He stated there would not be a humanitarian pause without bringing back captives held by Hamas.

“We will continue until victory and until the hostages are returned home,” the defense minister added.

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said during an evening press conference on Tuesday in just one month of its military operation against Hamas, the Israel Defense Forces delivered strikes on more than 14,000 targets in the Gaza Strip.

In his words, the IDF demolished over 100 tunnel entrances and destroyed more than 4,000 weapons of various types.

The spokesman claimed that the IDF also killed many Hamas fighters, including in the rank of commanders.

Israel has launched air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7.

At least 10,000 Palestinians, including more than 4,000 children and over 2,700 women, have been killed since then. The Israeli death toll, meanwhile, is nearly 1,500, according to official figures.

Besides the large number of casualties and massive displacements, basic supplies are running low for Gaza’s 2.3 million residents due to the Israeli siege.

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