IDF pushes ahead in Rafah, wraps up Jabalia operation

Multiple senior Hamas terrorists slain in recent days, IDF says • Remains of seven hostages recovered from Jabalia, over 6 miles of a tunnel destroyed • IDF establishes maternity complex in Deir al-Balah.

Israeli ground troops operating in the Rafah area of southern Gaza, June 1, 2024.
Photo: IDF

JNS Staff Report
June 3, 2024

Israel forces on Sunday continued their “precise, intelligence-based targeted operations” in Gaza’s Rafah city, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Troops have seized large caches of weapons and killed armed terrorists in the city, Hamas’s last stronghold in the Strip, the military said.

Ground forces remain active elsewhere in Gaza, including the central Strip, where IAF fighter jets struck more than 30 terror targets over the past 24 hours, including military infrastructure, weapons storage facilities and armed terrorist cells.

On Saturday, IAF aircraft attacked a structure belonging to the Al-Noor organization in the area of Dajar Tuffah in Gaza City, according to the IDF. Al-Noor is responsible for funding Hamas terrorist attacks, the military said.

In addition, IAF fighter jets killed Salame Barake, a Hamas operative in the eastern Khan Yunis Battalion and head of finance in the Hamas Police. The IDF provided video documentation of the strike.

Three other key Hamas terrorists were killed in the past week, including a “significant” operative in Hamas’s Aerial Array, the army said. He was a member of the terrorist group’s Nuseirat Battalion who directed and carried out attacks against Israelis, as well as the head of the terror group’s internal security force’s technology department.

The IDF released a video on Saturday of a booby-trapped home in Rafah, “just one out of many examples where Hamas embeds itself within civilian population and infrastructure.”

Israeli forces took control of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt on May 7 at the start of the operation, which began in the eastern section of the city but has since expanded to other areas, with the IDF last week capturing the entire Philadelphi Corridor, the 8.7-mile-long border area between Gaza and Egypt.

Cairo has refused to work with Jerusalem on facilitating the entry of aid via the Rafah crossing. Under pressure from the Biden administration, the Egyptians began allowing aid trucks to enter Gaza via Israel’s Kerem Shalom crossing on May 26.

According to a report in the Saudi Al-Hadath TV channel on Sunday, Cairo will present a document to the United States with its demands for reopening the Rafah crossing, which includes an unconditional Israeli withdrawal from the crossing and the surrounding areas and the entry of unlimited aid into Gaza.

Eastern Jabalia mission completed

The IDF announced on Friday that Israeli forces had completed a weeks-long mission in eastern Jabalia in northern Gaza.

The operation involved combat teams from the 7th and 460th Armored Brigades and the 98th Paratroopers Division.

“Hamas turned the civilian space into a fortified combat complex, fired at the forces from shelters and schools, and established underground infrastructure in civilian buildings,” the military said.

Israeli forces killed hundreds of terrorists in “intense battles and close-quarters encounters,” while also destroying dozens of terrorist sites and compounds and confiscating hundreds of weapons. Several “significant” IED production workshops were also destroyed, as were rocket-launching sites and ready-to-use launchers were destroyed.

More than 10 kilometers (6 miles) of an underground tunnel were also destroyed. Weapons and intelligence were located in the tunnel, which had been set with explosives, according to the IDF.

The bodies of seven Israelis taken captive by Hamas on Oct. 7 were retrieved during the operation and returned to Israel for burial.

More than 200 airstrikes were carried out during the operation, in which dozens of terrorists were killed, mostly at the command level, the IDF said.

Maternity complex established in Deir al-Balah

The IDF said on Saturday night that a new maternity complex had been established at the IMC field hospital in the Deir al-Balah area in the central Strip.

The complex was set up in coordination with the Israeli Defense Ministry’s COGAT unit.

Two additional generators had been set up as part of the expansion of the hospital, allowing a four-fold increase that can be treated at a time, according to the military.

“We will continue to act in accordance with international law in order to enable the passage of all humanitarian aid to the residents of Gaza,” read the IDF statement.

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